GARETH BALE needs some loving to reignite his career, according to Chris Coleman.
The Welshman, 31, is out-of-favour under Jose Mourinho at Tottenham after making just two Premier League starts since his season-long loan return from Real Madrid.
Coleman got the best out of Bale when Wales reached the Euro 2016 semi-finals.
And the ex-Dragons boss admits even Bale, a four-time Champions League winner with Real, could need an arm around the shoulder to boost his confidence.
Coleman said: “Most players need love.
“Maybe it is a confidence thing. You have to remember the Premier League is tougher than LaLiga, week-in, week-out. The intensity is different, the physicality is different.
“Maybe he hasn’t found that yet. Maybe if he had two, three or four games, we would see something different.
“But he’s not getting that because he’s obviously not back at the level where we expected him to be.”
But, despite Bale’s Tottenham woes, Coleman, who was Wales manager between 2012-17, has warned against writing the forward off.
Former Sunderland and Fulham chief Coleman told Sky’s Monday Night Football programme: “He’s been out for a long time and he’s finding it hard to get back in and get his rhythm.
FREE BETS: GET OVER £2,000 IN SIGN UP OFFERS HERE
“We all know what a world-class player he is. He can win a game, he can score a goal from nothing, he’s got a last pass.
“But when I’m watching him now it looks like he’s always on his first game back after an injury. Obviously, we expected him to be in the flow of it by now but he clearly isn’t.
“He’s only 31 so I wouldn’t write him off. I don’t know what’s happened at Tottenham but knowing Gareth, he’s a very serious boy about his football and he loves playing football.
“I’ve heard comments that maybe he’ll be happy to be on the bench. He won’t be happy on the bench – not the Gareth Bale that I know.
“He will very much want to be in the heart of it and if he’s not quite there yet, he’s either not ready physically or maybe mentally there’s a lack of confidence.”
Bale’s hunger and desire has been questioned but Coleman says that is not the player he knows having worked with him first-hand
Coleman said: “Whatever game plan I had, he would want to know about that. We would have meetings and he was very vocal. He would like to understand what the plan was and what everybody’s role was
“I can’t talk about what he’s like at Madrid or Tottenham, I can only say what he was like with Wales and as a person
“He’s really serious about his football and he doesn’t want to be treated any differently. He was right in the middle of it with everybody. Even when he wasn’t fit, he was there, in amongst it.”