Gareth Bale has revealed how showdown talks with Harry Redknapp made him "toughen up". Bale has been one of the stars of 2010, both in the Premier League and Champions League. It is a turnaround for a player who endured an injury-blighted start to life at Tottenham and had to wait 24 Premier League games to be part of a winning side after joining them from Southampton three-and-a-half years ago. "It did take a while for me to hold down a first-team spot at Tottenham," Bale told BBC Wales Sport. "I had a lot of injuries. When I wasn't playing, I went in to see the manager to ask when was I going to be given my chance. There were a lot of things the manager wanted me to do ... aspects of my game I needed to improve on. And he wanted me to toughen up as I was still a young boy at the time. So I worked hard in training to prove to him that I was worthy of a spot in the team."
David Dunn, the Blackburn midfielder, admits he is restricted in the number of games he can play in a season as he has to manage his fitness. Dunn, 30, scored his first goal of the campaign in only his fifth start in last week's victory against Wolverhampton Wanderers after groin and hamstring injuries hampered his progress. However he did not see the match out and was replaced in the 52nd minute. "It was a little bit of a precaution," he told the club's website. "We were 2-0, job done, so there was no point in risking things. Unfortunately I am one of those players who is going to pick up little niggles."
Arsenal are eager to sign man of the moment Samir Nasri to a long-term deal. The club have been proactive in tying up their young talent on long-term deals, with a lucrative extension until 2015 likely to be on offer for Nasri, who has been put forward as a potential Player of the Year by Arsene Wenger, his manager. "We try for a new deal," Wenger said. "I believe that for 90 per cent of the players their career depends on the club where they go. It looks to me he has made the right decision when he decided to join us, so it would be the right decision for him to stay with us."
Chris Kirkland, the Wigan goalkeeper, hopes to begin his delayed loan spell with Championship side Leicester City this week after recovering from a back spasm. He could now come into contention for the home game against Doncaster on Saturday. Kirkland, who had been capped by England, told the Lancashire Evening Post: "I think the loan was going to be cancelled because it looked as though I'd be out for a couple of weeks. But thank goodness that is no longer the case, and hopefully I can get down there later this week, prove my fitness to everyone and get out there on the pitch."
Carlos Tevez has pleaded for patience as Manchester City look to muscle their way into the Premier League's elite. The Argentine has urged everyone to give his team-mates time to get it right. "Three years ago Manchester City were a team who used to finish in the bottom half of the table," Tevez told the club's website. "Nowadays we are always battling to be in the top four and trying hard to become one of the great teams. That shows we have grown tremendously in just a couple of years. But people need to remain very patient. You don't build a great club overnight. Each new player or new manager needs to go through a settling-in period. There are lots of factors involved so you need to keep fighting, just like we have been doing, in order to win a title."