Burley issues 'hands off Bale' warning

August 10, 2006

George Burley has warned the Premiership vultures to keep their hands off Southampton starlet Gareth Bale after the teenager scored his second wonder-goal in four days.

Bale, 17, rattled in a superb free-kick for the second match in succession as Southampton beat Coventry 2-0 in the 100th match at St Mary's.

The left-back, Wales' youngest-ever international, was linked with Liverpool and Spurs before signing a two-year deal with Saints in the summer.

Burley said: 'Our hands were tied when Theo Walcott left for Arsenal. There was nothing we could do to keep him but Gareth signed a contract in the summer and we want him to stay.

'The big clubs will not be getting him and the chairman will tell you that. Gareth, and his parents, feel he is in the best possible place to develop and that is the most important thing. He has only just turned 17 and is growing in confidence with every game.'