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Gareth Bale's former PE teacher tells of his pride at Euro 2016 success

Credit: PA

Gareth Bale's former PE teacher has spoken of his pride ahead of Wales playing Portugal in the Euro 2016 semi-final tonight.

Gwyn Morris taught Bale at Whitchurch High School in Cardiff between 2002 and 2005.

The 48-year-old has followed the career of his protege closely - from Southampton academy product to becoming the world's most expensive footballer at Real Madrid.

But nothing has delighted proud Welshman Mr Morris quite as much as seeing how his former pupil has shone in the first major tournament Wales have appeared in since 1958.

Bale has notched up three goals so far and helped propel Wales from 100-1 outsiders to potential champions.

It was clear from very early on that Gareth had talent. Not only was he incredibly fast but he also had a brilliant touch.

The timing of his passes was pure precision and made other players look good.

But it wasn't just his ability, he also had a fantastic attitude and was incredibly committed.

– Gwyn Morris, former PE teacher
Credit: PA

Bale's skill was evident at 15 when he played a key role in helping Whitchurch's under 18 team win the Cardiff & Vale Senior Cup.

He also beat off competition in his final year from future Wales rugby captain Sam Warburton to be named the school's top athlete before leaving to join Southampton.

"He wasn't just great at football," Mr Morris added. "He was good at rugby, cricket and cross-country running.

And despite the Welshman's meteoric rise, Mr Morris said his star pupil has always kept his feet on the ground and not forgotten where he has come from.

But of all Bale's stellar achievements - which includes two Champions League wins - Mr Morris said the winger's Euro 2016 goal against Russia was one of his favourite moments to date.

I used to insist that Gareth played with his right foot - despite him being naturally left-footed. I wanted him to develop his game and he was so determined that he would stick to my instructions.

When he scored that goal against Russia with his right foot it made me smile tremendously.

Do I think we could go all the way? Why not! The team spirit is fantastic and you have to aim high.

The potential is there and you can do anything if you set your mind to it. Gareth's always had a winning mentality and the drive.

He's been such a fantastic role model. Whatever the result he is going to be an icon and inspiration for so many generations to come.

– Gwyn Morris, former PE teacher

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