Gareth Bale insists Tottenham are not thinking about a Premier League title challenge after his late goal handed them a 2-1 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Sunday. 

The Wales international headed home his first goal since re-joining the club on loan from Real Madrid in September, seven years after swapping north London for the Spanish capital. 

Spurs had earlier gone ahead thanks to Harry Kane's 13th-minute penalty before Tariq Lamptey equalised for the Seagulls. 

The result moved Jose Mourinho's side up to second, two points behind leaders Liverpool, but Bale says no-one at the club is getting carried away. 

"It's very competitive, we know not to get too carried away," he told Sky Sports. "There are some great teams and we are just going to keep working as hard as we can."

Bale's goal was his first for Tottenham since May 2013 and came in his fourth appearance since his return.

While primarily brought back to help form a potent attack alongside Kane and Son Heung-min, Bale insists he would be just as happy doing the dirty work if that was demanded by Mourinho.

"You just want to come on and do a job for the team," he added. "I worked for the team and was lucky enough to get the goal.

"Everyone always talks about individuals but I've always said I'm a team player. I'd be happy coming on doing a job even if it's defending. The most important thing is the collective.

"We are growing every game. Even if we make mistakes we are learning from them and we can only use that as a positive.

"I haven't played a lot of football. I had a little problem with my knee so it's taking a bit of time. I am working hard in training and when I get chances."

Gareth Bale scored his first goal since returning to Tottenham as Jose Mourinho's side bounced back from their Europa League disappointment with a 2-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion.

Spurs suffered a shock 1-0 defeat to Royal Antwerp on Thursday and Mourinho demonstrated his dissatisfaction with that result by making nine changes for the visit of Graham Potter's side, with Bale demoted to the substitutes' bench and Dele Alli dropped from the squad altogether.

Mourinho's new-look starting XI went ahead with a 13th-minute penalty from Harry Kane before Tariq Lamptey's first professional goal pulled Brighton level shortly before the hour mark.

Bale came off the bench to head home in the 73rd minute, though, to help Tottenham move up to second place, two points behind leaders Liverpool. The Seagulls, meanwhile, remain in 16th having won just once so far this season.

Jose Mourinho believes Tottenham must accept Gareth Bale is "a different player" to the wing wizard that Real Madrid prised away from north London seven years ago.

Bale is back at Spurs for a second spell and Mourinho says it cannot be assumed the loanee will make the same impact second time around.

He related the Welshman's situation to those of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have made subtle changes to their styles of play over the years to remain formidable forces.

Mourinho hopes Bale can add plenty to Tottenham too, but at the age of 31 it may not be as the explosive wide man of years gone by.

Changes could be plentiful for Tottenham in Sunday's clash with Brighton and Hove Albion, given how unimpressed Mourinho was by the performance in Thursday's Europa League defeat at Antwerp.

Asked after that game how his team for Brighton would look, Mourinho said: "Do you want me to start with the same team as tonight? You are an intelligent guy, you know my answer."

When addressing the matter of Bale, who had two shots – neither of which were on target – before being substituted after 58 minutes in Antwerp, Mourinho said: "I repeat, seven years is a long gap. Which player in the world is the same as he was seven years ago? Sometimes they are just different players.

"You look for example at Ronaldo and Messi and compare them to seven years ago. I think it happens with the majority of players. For sure, he is a different player."

Whether Bale faces Brighton remains to be seen.

"He is working very hard. He is improving," Mourinho said. "He didn't miss one single minute of any training session. To play 90 minutes it's still hard, but he is improving. Hopefully he'll be back to a better level soon."

Tottenham have home advantage for the Brighton game and sit fifth in the Premier League heading into the weekend.

Mourinho is a tough taskmaster and will want an improvement on recent home form, Spurs having achieved all three of their Premier League wins away from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium this season.

At home they have drawn twice and lost once, against Everton in their season opener. The last time they failed to win in four consecutive top-flight home games was in the 2013-14 season.

Their record against Brighton bodes well for that sequence to end, having won all three of their previous Premier League home clashes with the Seagulls.

And there was good news from Mourinho as he forecast Eric Dier and Tanguy Ndombele should be fit for the game after physical ailments.

Having Ndombele back provides cheer for Mourinho, who said: "We missed him because he gives speed to the team, thinking quick, moving the ball fast. We miss him."

Jose Mourinho's big-name substitutes failed to save Tottenham from a 1-0 Europa League defeat at Royal Antwerp on Thursday.

Dele Alli and Gareth Bale both came into the Spurs side but neither lasted an hour, the former withdrawn among four half-time changes as Mourinho's men trailed to Lior Refaelov's 29th-minute strike.

The visiting coach turned first to Son Heung-min and then to Harry Kane - replacing Bale 13 minutes later - yet the in-form pair could not come up with a leveller despite a slightly improved second-half showing.

Again the pre-match optimism prompted by beating Burnley on Monday dissipated, with Tottenham too often this season following big victories with inexplicable setbacks.

While Spurs toiled from the outset, the Belgian Pro League leaders seized the biggest opportunity of the first half as Dieumerci Mbokani ripped the ball away from Ben Davies, raced towards goal and squared for Refaelov to control and lash into the net.

Despite the raft of Mourinho changes, Antwerp twice could have increased their advantage early in the second half.

More slack play - this time from Harry Winks - let Refaelov in, prompting a sublime recovery tackle from Davinson Sanchez, before Mbokani somehow missed the target when found by Koji Miyoshi with the goal at his mercy.

Pressure increased on the Antwerp goal, but they were soon in again on the counter, only for Simen Juklerod to fire high into the stands with only Hugo Lloris to beat.

Although that miss kept Tottenham in the match, they could not create a presentable opportunity for Son or Kane as Mourinho lost for the first time in 16 Europa League matches - including qualifiers.

Dele Alli was recalled to the Tottenham starting line-up for the first time in more than a month as they visited Royal Antwerp on Thursday.

Jose Mourinho named the England midfielder alongside Gareth Bale in his XI for the Europa League group-stage clash in Belgium.

Alli was substituted at half-time on the opening day of the Premier League season – a 1-0 defeat to Everton – and has not started a domestic match since, appearing only off the bench in a 6-1 win at Manchester United and otherwise failing to make the matchday squad.

The 24-year-old's only other start in 2020-21 lasted just an hour against Shkendija in Europa League qualifying on September 24, with Alli making way for Harry Kane, who later scored, with Spurs drawing 1-1. He netted against Maccabi Haifa in one of two European substitute appearances to date.

With Alli's Tottenham future seemingly in doubt prior to the Shkendija game, Mourinho said the player would stay at the club but had to own "99 per cent of the responsibility" to improve.

Alli had two shots – one on target, one blocked – and created a single chance in North Macedonia but completed just 71 per cent of his passes, won only 16.7 per cent of his duels and failed to register a tackle, clearance or interception.

In 45 minutes against Everton, Alli had seen his only shot saved and again created one chance. His passing accuracy was 76.5 per cent and he won 50 per cent of his duels, losing his only attempt at a tackle.

Jose Mourinho claimed Son Heung-min's decision to join the same management agency as him has no link to discussions over a new Tottenham contract for the South Korea star.

Son is in talks with Spurs over a new deal and recently joined CAA Base, who will represent his interests in addition to Mourinho's.

The forward has made a fine start to the campaign, scoring 10 goals in all competitions, and is contracted to the club until the end of the 2022-23 season.

Mourinho said at a media conference ahead of their Europa League clash with Antwerp that Son's decision to join CAA Base will not affect discussions, and he remains confident the 28-year-old will agree a new deal in the not-too-distant future.

"The agency represents me on my image rights and commercial outside my football job and that's it," Mourinho said.

"I don't care about who represents players. I just care about what players give me on the pitch. I had nothing to do with that.

"The majority of my players don't know who the agents are. An impact on Son's future? I can probably say on the commercial level it will be a big impact because it is a worldwide and important agency.

"In relation to his contract, I am not worried about it. He has three years left on his contract. There is a good relationship between Daniel Levy and the people who represent him. We believe that sooner or later that will be resolved.

"I do not see any problem with that because he is a player with three years of contract. In other clubs there are problems with other players because they have contracts in a few months, but three years is a long time."

Son has formed a brilliant partnership with Harry Kane so far this season, with the duo combining for nine Premier League goals – one shy of a club record.

Mourinho also believes Gareth Bale is starting to show the kind of form he wants from the on-loan Real Madrid forward.

The 31-year-old Wales international, who did not feature against Burnley on Monday, will start the Group J encounter against Antwerp as he continues to build up his match fitness.

"Bale is playing and we all have not just a feeling but the data to show that Bale is arriving," explained Mourinho.

"He is working very hard, he is being a great example for everybody. A big guy like him travelled to Burnley, stayed on the bench for 90 minutes, didn't play for one minute.

"His behaviour as a team guy is incredible, his behaviour as a Tottenham guy is remarkable and he is coming. I can see just with my eyes but then scientific data is also coming and he is working very, very well.

"He is improving, improving a lot and I think already we can see Gareth at a good level and hopefully he can fly because he is working very hard."

Tottenham are set to be without Eric Dier and Tanguy Ndombele for the match against the Belgium side with the midfield pair nursing slight injuries.

Mourinho added: "We left Dier behind because he comes with muscular injury from Monday night. Tanguy is not also coming because he felt little bit. We are not going to risk when have other options."

Gareth Bale's fitness is "improving a lot" as the Welshman prepares to make his second start of the season for Tottenham in the Europa League. 

Bale started for the first time since returning to the Premier League club in the 3-0 win over LASK last week. 

The 31-year-old had previously been used off the bench against West Ham, coming on midway through the second half before Jose Mourinho's side conceded a three-goal lead to draw 3-3. 

However, Bale remained an unused substitute during Spurs' 1-0 victory over Burnley on Monday. 

His fitness is being steadily managed by Spurs, but Mourinho's assistant head coach Joao Sacramento has confirmed the Real Madrid loanee will start the clash with Antwerp on Thursday. 

"I can tell you that we will make some changes but like in every previous match, the changes don't mean that the team is weak," Sacramento told Spurs' official website ahead of the Group J clash.

"We believe that with the squad that we have, even with rotation, the team will keep the level and the quality of play. 

"Tomorrow, Gareth Bale will start. Gareth is improving a lot – in terms of fitness level, his condition is much, much better, he's feeling better every day and with the interaction that we have with him, he's feeling very positive and we believe that soon he will be at his top level again." 

In his 66 minutes on the pitch against LASK, Bale had 44 touches and attempted 25 passes, finishing with a 72 per cent accuracy. 

However, he failed to have a single effort on goal and did not create any chances. His replacement, Son Heung-min, scored Spurs' third and final goal, which came from one of his two on-target attempts.

Tottenham star Gareth Bale said he is still working his way back to full match fitness after struggling to make an impact in the Europa League victory over LASK.

Bale made his second full debut for Tottenham after leaving Spurs for Real Madrid in 2013 and the 31-year-old loanee played a role in the opening goal of Thursday's 3-0 win.

A second-half substitute against West Ham in the Premier League over the weekend, Bale forced an own goal in the 28th minute but the Welshman recorded an unwanted four-year first.

It was the first time Bale started a club match and not had either a shot or create chance for his team-mates since November 2016 for Madrid – his 78th start since then, per Opta.

"We know these games are important. We went out there and did a great job. It wasn't our best performance but we were solid and most important is the three points," Bale told BT Sport as he reflected on the Group J match and his performance.

"I am a bit stiff. It is like a mini pre-season for me and I am trying to get minutes into the legs.

"Hopefully it won't take me long to get back up to full speed and I am enjoying being on the pitch and being back at this amazing club."

Tottenham have won 11 of their last 12 home Europa League group-stage fixtures, drawing once.

Spurs have also scored 31 goals in all competitions this season – five more than any other Premier League side.

On being back at Tottenham, Bale – who struggled for game time at LaLiga giants Madrid in recent years – added: "It is amazing. It is a big reason why I play well and why I came back. You want to be loved and appreciated. I will give everything for this shirt.

"This is a great squad that has a lot of depth, hopefully we can use that to our advantage. It is always good to have competition to keep you on your toes."

Gareth Bale failed to take a shot or create a chance for a team-mate after starting a club match for the first time since November 2016 as Tottenham beat LASK 3-0.

The Wales forward had made his second Spurs debut from the bench during the 3-3 Premier League draw with West Ham last weekend, but was included from the off as the London club began their Europa League campaign on Thursday.

Bale forced Andres Andrade to put through his own net to make it 2-0 with less than half an hour gone.

However, the on-loan Real Madrid man's influence somewhat waned from there before he was taken off by Jose Mourinho around the hour mark.

Tottenham outclassed LASK as they cruised to a 3-0 home victory in their opening Europa League group stage match on Thursday.

Jose Mourinho's side took control early on as an Andres Andrade own goal was quickly followed by a Lucas Moura strike, with substitute Son Heung-min adding a third goal late on.

Spurs' starting line-up featured two eye-catching names, with recent signings Carlos Vinicius and Gareth Bale included.

But, while the first 10 minutes saw Bale evidencing his threat from a starting position on the right wing, they also featured a poor Vinicius miss, the striker heading wide on his full debut when he should have done better with a teasing Matt Doherty cross.

He did, though, waste little time in making up for that error, latching onto a Ben Davies ball over the top soon after to tee up compatriot Lucas for a composed finish.

Bale, too, had his moment before the half-hour mark, forcing Andrade to put through his own net with a low, outside-of-the-boot cross at the end of a sweeping move started by Sergio Reguilon's brilliant surge forward.

At that point it looked like Spurs might run away with it, but LASK rallied to enjoy a strong finish to the half, with Andreas Gruber coming closest to making it count courtesy of a fine drive from distance.

They were also not far away form reducing the deficit on the hour mark, Petar Filipovic's header from a corner sailing just over the bar with Joe Hart and his defenders beaten.

However, with the Austrians enjoying their best spell of the game, Mourinho was able to call for the cavalry in the form of Moussa Sissoko, Dele Alli and Son.

It was the latter pair who made the most telling difference, with Alli forcing a smart save after being played through by Vinicius after Son firing over the bar from close range.

Spurs never looked like rueing those misses, however, and had time to cap their win with a third goal courtesy of a side-footed Son from close range.

Another spectacular weekend in the Premier League always looked likely after Liverpool's thriller at Everton, and we weren't disappointed.

The champions lost Virgil van Dijk to injury and a winning goal to a Sadio Mane offside so marginal it seems VAR has now started dealing with measurements on the Planck scale.

Gareth Bale's return to action for Tottenham was warmly welcomed (mostly by jubilant West Ham fans) as a Jose Mourinho team once more produced a goal-fest, a sure sign that 2020 is truly losing its marbles.

Thankfully, we were also given a healthy dose of normality. Arsenal lost to Manchester City for the seventh time in a row, Jack Grealish was fouled so much you have to wonder if his tiny shin pads are shouting insults at every opponent, and Crystal Palace did their utmost to get a result against Brighton and Hove Albion without actually shooting.

Here are some of the more unusual takeaways from the past few days...

 

WHERE EAGLES (DON'T) DARE

Brighton out-shot Palace by 19 in Sunday's 1-1 draw at Selhurst Park, but it wasn't until the 90th minute through Alexis Mac Allister that they finally scored.

Palace had been leading 1-0 since the 19th minute, when Wilfried Zaha converted a penalty won by Michy Batshuayi. Remarkably, that was their only shot in the entire match; since Opta began collecting such data back in 2003-04, no other team has gone through a whole Premier League game in which their solitary attempt was from the spot.

Swansea City hold the Premier League record (at least since 2003-04) when it comes to the lowest number of shots for an entire season: they managed 339 in 2017-18. Palace, who have had 32 in their five games this term, might just have something to aim for – if aiming were their strong suit, anyway.

IT'S GUNNER CHANGE ONE DAY

Some degree of normality was restored at the Etihad Stadium, where Arsenal, who seem to love losing to Manchester City, lost to Manchester City.

Raheem Sterling's goal gave the hosts a seventh win in a row in the league over the Gunners, who last lost as many in succession against the same opponent at the hands of Ipswich Town between 1974 and 1977. If they lose the return fixture, they'll equal a club record of eight consecutive top-flight defeats to the same team, having last done so to Leeds United from 1972 to 1976.

The worst such run in England's top tier belongs to West Brom: they were beaten 15 times in a row by Chelsea from 1984 to 2011 before Gareth McAuley gave them a 1-0 win in March 2012.

 

JACK'S HACKS

Grealish might be struggling to win over England boss Gareth Southgate, but his opponents certainly seem to view him as a force to be reckoned with.

In Aston Villa's 1-0 win at Leicester City, Grealish won five fouls – nobody was fouled more often – to take his tally to 182 since the start of last season. Unsurprisingly, that's the highest number in the division.

According to Opta data, the most-fouled player in the Premier League since 2003-04 is former Bolton Wanderers striker Kevin Davies, who won 727 free-kicks. Grealish has some way to go before he can reckon with that figure, but at least he has double the number of England caps as Davies, who got one back in October 2010.

RED-FACED REDS

Conceding twice to Everton did more than sting Liverpool's local pride – it also took them to 13 goals conceded in five league games this season, the same number they let in after 15 matches in 2019-20. In fact, it's the most they have ever conceded in the first five league games of a season since shipping 13 back in 1953, when Winston Churchill was still prime minister of the United Kingdom.

If their average of 2.6 goals against per game continues, they will end the season having conceded at least 98 times. That would set a new club record in terms of their worst defensive displays across a campaign, surpassing the 97 goals they let in back in, you guessed it, 1953-54. How they would have hoped for better news on Virgil van Dijk's injury.

It could be worse, though: Manchester United conceded a quite spectacular 26 goals in the first five games of 1930-31, which remains a record in England's top flight. Churchill wasn't even in the government at the time.

 

UNBELIEVABALE

Spurs were cruising to a 3-0 victory when Bale came on against West Ham for his first appearance for the club in 2,707 days. What a moment for the fans watching at home.

Of course, it was the West Ham faithful who will have been jumping for joy in their living rooms by the end of the game, with Fabian Balbuena, a Davinson Sanchez own goal and an utterly magical hit from Manuel Lanzini snatching the most dramatic of 3-3 draws. Bale had earlier missed a great chance to make it 4-2, for good measure.

Still, welcoming back Bale after more than seven years will have been a special moment, although it doesn't quite match Wayne Rooney's Premier League record. His first appearance after rejoining Everton in 2017 came 4,837 days after his first in 2002, and he marked it by scoring the winner against Stoke City.

Gareth Bale's introduction from the bench was not a distraction for Tottenham in their shock collapse at home to West Ham, insists boss Jose Mourinho.

Spurs were cruising to three points in Sunday's Premier League encounter, with Son Heung-min's strike and Harry Kane's double opening up a 3-0 lead after 16 minutes.

But Fabian Balbuena struck and Davinson Sanchez's put through his own net before Manuel Lanzini's injury-time thunderbolt sealed a memorable turnaround from the Hammers.

Bale rejoined Spurs on loan from Real Madrid last month and was brought on as a 72nd-minute substitute, missing a golden opportunity when Spurs led 3-2.

However, Mourinho did not believe Bale entering the fray had any negative effect on his side.

"I don't think so, I honestly don't think so. The decision not to start him was I think a good decision," Mourinho said. 

"A decision to show that he doesn't have a beautiful chair waiting for him in the team and he sits there the first time he can. It was a message to the team that in this team everybody has to fight for positions.

"He's very well accepted in the group. Everyone likes him, and I believe he also likes what he found here. So everything is positive and the focus was not on him. The focus was on the game and he was on the bench for 65 minutes or so and I don't think so, I don't think at all.

"It's a pity that he couldn't score that fourth goal which was a beauty and would have killed the game. But that's football." 

Back in July, Mourinho said Spurs lacked mental strength following a 3-1 defeat to Sheffield United.

The Portuguese did not want to blame similar reasons on this occasion, citing the fact Spurs have made several additions to their team since then.

"I don't want to go there. We have new players. We played much better than last season. I can say the same about West Ham," he added.

"West Ham is a much better team than it was when [David] Moyes arrived. The team is in evolution, we play much better, we know how we want to play. 

"Defensively the team is much better than before, that's why I was saying before to look to our goals, the goals that we concede. It was only Danny Ings. After that, penalty Newcastle, penalty Man United, another penalty with Southampton.

"Today two free-kicks and an own goal. Defensively we're much stronger but in the last part of the game this happened and it's difficult to explain."

Tottenham fans got to see Gareth Bale don the famous shirt once more in Sunday's Premier League clash with West Ham.

The Wales star came off the bench at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for his first appearance in England's top flight since May 2013, but it proved a frustrating outing.

From 3-0 up when Bale was introduced in the 72nd minute, Tottenham were pegged back as the game finished in a 3-3 draw.

The 31-year-old, who previously played for Spurs between 2007 and 2013, joined Jose Mourinho's side on loan from Real Madrid after winning four Champions Leagues with Los Blancos.

Bale had only 25 goal involvements (17 goals, eight assists) across his final two seasons with Madrid, having managed 61 (38 goals, 23 assists) in his last two campaigns with Tottenham.

Players returning to clubs where they enjoyed great success is nothing new, but are the second acts ever as good as those we witness first?

DIEGO MARADONA - BOCA JUNIORS

One of the world's greatest players, Maradona completed a dream transfer from Argentinos Juniors to Boca in 1981, going on to score 28 times in 40 league games for the club he supported as a boy. With the lure of Europe, a world-record transfer to Barcelona followed, but Maradona finished his career back in Argentina with Boca. However, by that point he was a shadow of his former self, scoring just seven times in 30 appearances from 1995 to 1997.

Key stat: Maradona played in 10 Primera Division seasons in his home country, though he would win just one piece of silverware - the 1981 Metropolitano - in his first stint at Boca.

ROBBIE FOWLER - LIVERPOOL

Known as 'God' at Anfield, Fowler was the homegrown hero who led the line for the Reds for much of the 1990s. He was sold to Leeds United in 2001, having had a difficult relationship with manager Gerard Houllier, who preferred Michael Owen and Emile Heskey in attack. After a spell at Manchester City, Fowler returned to Liverpool on a free in 2006, but the three league goals he scored in 2006-07 were all penalties.

Key stat: Fowler remains Liverpool's all-time leading scorer in the Premier League having netted 128 times in 266 games.

WAYNE ROONEY - EVERTON

Another talented Merseyside youngster, Rooney made a memorable breakthrough at Everton with a brilliant winner against Arsenal in 2002, though his relationship with fans of his boyhood club soured when he joined Manchester United, for whom he became the club's record scorer. Relations thawed over time and Rooney came 'home' for 2017-18 - but he was often deployed in a deeper midfield position in his second spell.

Key stat: Rooney scored 10 times in the Premier League during his second stint at Goodison Park - the only time he reached double figures for Everton in a league campaign.

KAKA - MILAN

The Brazilian enjoyed a fruitful six years at San Siro, winning the 2007 Ballon d'Or, a Serie A title and a Champions League while scoring 70 goals and providing 48 assists in 193 league games. Kaka never truly hit those heights again as a Real Madrid Galactico and returned to Milan for 2013-14, though he was unable to rediscover his magic.

Key stat: The forward averaged a goal involvement every 131 minutes in his initial spell with Milan, but that fell to 219 minutes second time around.

MARIO GOTZE - BORUSSIA DORTMUND

A product of BVB's youth academy, Gotze, like his team-mates Robert Lewandowski and Mats Hummels, was eventually lured to rivals Bayern Munich. The midfielder, who scored the winning goal for Germany in the 2014 World Cup final, struggled at times for form and fitness during three seasons with Bayern and that continued back at Dortmund, where he spent four more seasons before leaving earlier this year. Gotze has since joined Dutch giants PSV.

Key stat: Gotze scored 22 goals at a rate of one every 263 minutes in his first four-season spell with Dortmund. During his second stint, he scored 13 at a rate of one every 351 minutes.

ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC - MILAN

Of course it is the enigmatic Swede who proves things can be just as good second time around. Ibrahimovic enjoyed a brilliant two-season run at Milan between 2010 and 2012 - scoring 42 times and providing 17 assists in 61 Serie A games. Ibrahimovic returned to Milan in January and, in 20 Serie A games so far, he has scored 14 goals and assisted five more.

Key stat: Ibrahimovic's minutes-per-goal involvement stood at one every 91 minutes in his first Milan spell, and this time around on average he has played a part in a goal every 81.3 minutes.

After 2,709 days, Gareth Bale is a Premier League player again.

The Wales star came off the bench in Tottenham's clash with West Ham on Sunday for his first appearance since rejoining on loan from Real Madrid.

 

He replaced Steven Bergwijn in the 72nd minute, with Tottenham leading 3-0 at the time thanks to two early goals from Harry Kane and a first-minute strike from Son Heung-min.

Bale was straight into the action too, having a shot saved almost immediately after his introduction.

It was Bale's first game in England's top flight since May 19, 2013, when he helped Spurs to a 1-0 win over Sunderland at White Hart Lane.

He scored the only goal of that contest in the 89th minute as Spurs just missed out on a top-four spot, finishing a point behind Arsenal in the table.

The home side, then managed by Andre Villas-Boas, struggled against a Sunderland side who narrowly avoided relegation but Bale managed nine shots in the game – five of which were on target.

His goal, when it finally came, took him to 37 goal involvements in all competitions – only Robin van Persie (39) and Juan Mata (49) were involved in more for a Premier League club that season.

Bale then completed his £100million move to Real Madrid and went on to score 80 times in 171 appearances in LaLiga, his last goal coming against Villarreal on September 1, 2019.

Gareth Bale could make his first appearance since rejoining Tottenham after he was named on the bench for the Premier League fixture with West Ham.

The Welshman returned to his former club on loan from Real Madrid in late September but was unable to play immediately due to a knee injury.

Spurs always said the target was for Bale to feature after the international games in October, and that is set to be the case as they resume domestic duties following the break.

Jose Mourinho has included Bale among the substitutes for Sunday's game, along with another new recruit in Carlos Vinicius.

Bale scored 55 goals in 203 matches for Spurs during his first stint. He was twice named PFA Player of the Year, the second time coming after a 2012-13 campaign that saw him register 26 goals in 44 matches in all competitions.

The 31-year-old moved to Madrid and managed over a century of goals during his spell in Spain, helping the LaLiga club win the Champions League on four occasions.

However, he became a peripheral figure under Zinedine Zidane during their title-winning campaign in 2019-20, making just 20 appearances in all competitions.

Tottenham have lost just three of their last 27 home London derbies in the Premier League, while Mourinho has never suffered defeat in 12 previous meetings with Hammers boss David Moyes.

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