Not many people know how close Bale came to being dumped on the scrapheap, according to Southampton scout Rod Ruddick.
Ruddick said: “Gareth struggled with injuries and was affected by a growth spurt. He was quite small but, like many teenagers, just shot up. His back was out of alignment, which meant he would struggle to run properly and at full pelt.
“He was almost released and who knows what might have happened? You have seen players fall out of love with the game after a rejection.”