By Giuseppe Muro

Arsène Wenger believes the pace of players like Gareth Bale can be contained by the intelligence of defenders.

The left-sided Tottenham player has received rave reviews after a number of impressive performances including a Champions League hat-trick against Inter Milan in the San Siro at the end of October.

Most recently Maicon, one of the world’s most respected full backs, endured a torrid evening against the Welshman prompting many to wonder how to stop Bale? Wenger thinks he has the answer.

“[You defend against that pace] with your brain,” said the manager. “If somebody has superior legs to you, you have still got resources. The main resource you can have is your brain and your intelligence. That’s what you can do.

“You have slow defenders who defend very well against quick strikers. It doesn’t take anything away from Gareth Bale who for me is a very promising and already a big player today. But when you give them room it is of course easier for them.”

With Bale and Arsenal speed merchant Theo Walcott both products of the same Southampton Academy, Wenger was quick to praise the structure of the south-coast club and their nurturing of young players.

“You have to pay tribute to Southampton because they had a good academy and they couldn’t take advantage of it.

“At the time they were in the FA Youth Cup Final so they couldn’t grow with this team. Unfortunately for them they became big players somewhere else.

“The fact is that a smaller club can’t keep the good players for long enough to take advantage of it because they had to sell them too early. They had Walcott and Bale and they had some others.”

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5 Nov 2010