By Andrew Warshaw

Gareth Bale_L_of_Tottenham_Hotspur_walks_past_head_coach_Andre_Villas-Boas_25-07-12July 25 - The first major off-the-field controversy surrounding the make-up of the Team GB men's football team flared up today when it emerged that Welsh star Gareth Bale – who had withdrawn citing injury – played for his club Tottenham Hotspur instead thousands of miles away in Los Angeles.

Bale (pictured above, left), who was included in the original Team GB squad and would have been an automatic choice for head coach Stuart Pearce, scored for Spurs in a 1-1 draw with Los Angeles Galaxy in a pre-season friendly.

Pearce, who has already bemoaned the fact that he was unable to select from England's European Championship squad, was forced to replace Bale just before announcing his final squad, further weakening the balance of the party.

One can only guess what he must now be feeling but Tottenham's new manager Andre Villas-Boas (pictured above, right) immediately defended Bale who would certainly have started for Team GB either at fullback or, more likely, on the left side of midfield against Senegal tomorrow.

Bale, said his manager, was still clearly not fully fit.

"He came back to us during this week, so [we had to] control the amount of effort he could put in," said Villas-Boas who substituted Bale after 74 minutes.

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