Diving accusations annoy Bale

Image: Gareth Bale: Spurs winger has rejected claims that he is a diver

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has insisted he does not dive and says the only reason he goes to ground is to save himself from getting injured.

Spurs winger regards rough treatment as a compliment

Tottenham winger Gareth Bale has insisted he does not dive and says the only reason he goes to ground is to save himself from getting injured. The Welshman has produced a series of dazzling displays for Spurs this season but one criticism occasionally aimed in his direction is that he goes down too easily. The accusation surfaced a couple of weeks ago when Bale appeared to drag his trailing leg in order to win a penalty against Arsenal, but he was quickly defended by manager Harry Redknapp. Bale, who earned another spot-kick for his side against Stevenage on Wednesday, says he is no diver but has to be careful to swerve the late challenges of opposition players. "If people want to say I'm diving then they can, but I'm trying to get out of the way and save myself, save my career if you like," he said. "It's a bit annoying (when people say I dive) but you've got people flying in at you, you're trying to get out of the way of the challenge. If you stand there, you're going to get a whack. "You can see why people say you're diving but I'd rather get out of the way than get hurt, that's what it is. It's football, a contact sport, things do happen and you've got to try to be clever with it. "I'm more likely to try to get out of the way and not get hurt, rather than get hurt. I tend not to dive."

Feeling stronger

Despite being the victim of a number of rash challenges this season, Bale sees it as a sign of respect when he comes in for such rough treatment. He added: "People want to take you down and get you out of the game and I suppose you can take it as a compliment. "It's not nice but I think it's to be expected now. In a way they think that's the only way they can stop you. You get up and get on with it like the best players do and go at them again. "You get used to it. I've got a few people sent off by doing that this year. You get up and get on with it, it's a part of the game." Bale returned to the side to face Stevenage in midweek after missing the loss to Manchester United through illness, and he is confident of being fit for Saturday's clash with Everton. "I found it difficult in the first half but I felt stronger as the game went on," he said. "It was good to get some running into my legs and hopefully now I can kick on."

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