Peter Crouch believes Gareth Bale is a “different player” to the one he played alongside at Tottenham.
Bale, back at Spurs on loan from Real Madrid, headed in the winner against Brighton on Sunday after coming on as a substitute.
And his former team-mate Crouch says it highlighted an aspect of Bale’s game he has developed over the years.
Speaking on the BBC’s Match of the Day 2 programme, Crouch said: “He’s definitely improved with his heading, I have to say.
“He wasn’t a great header of the ball when I played with him. He started at left-back, has worked on his game and turned into a world-class player at Madrid.
“I think he’s realised he’s 6ft-plus, he’s big, strong and his technique is good – it was a fantastic header.
“It’s definitely something he’s worked on at Madrid. He’s definitely improved.
“He was always scoring goals from outside the box and he wanted to get maybe more scruffy goals.
“He’s definitely a different player now than the player who left to go to Madrid.”
Boss Jose Mourinho hailed Bale but insisted the Welshman wouldn’t be rushed into the Tottenham starting line-up.
Mourinho will continue to use Europa League games to build up Bale’s fitness until he is ready to play 90 minutes’ of league action again.
He will start against Ludogorets Razgrad on Thursday but is not expected to play the whole game.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Mourinho said: “He doesn’t have 90 minutes of a Premier League match in his legs yet, so we are using the Europa League to complement his training process and some matches in the Premier League when we decide to play him.
“The normal tendency will be for him to be better and better and better.
“He will start again on Thursday and even in a Europa League match where the intensity is different than the Premier League, I will not play him for 90 minutes.
“I will always have this care with him until we feel that he’s ready.
“But today; great personality, great impact and a very important goal for us.”