Tottenham's Gareth Bale will be out of action for up to three weeks after tearing his hamstring during preparations for Wales' international friendly with Costa Rica, according to

The injury occurred during a training session with the Welsh squad on Tuesday morning, meaning that the electric left-footer sat out the Gary Speed Memorial Match in Cardiff.

According to reports it is a grade 1 tear, the least serious of the three grades of hamstring tears, yet Bale could still be missing for up to 21 days.

Tottenham face a massive match with Manchester United on Sunday, with the North London club knowing they need a win to maintain their slim chances of getting back into the Barclays Premier League title race.

After a breakout season last campaign which led to him winning the coveted PFA Player of the Year award, Bale has backed that up by performing at least equally well this year.

Instead of being rooted to the left touchline as he has been in the past, Bale has been asked to come inside and link more with Tottenham's front players; often to devastating effect. The Welsh winger has already notched up nine goals in the Premier League this season.

If the worst-case scenario transpires for Bale, then it is possible that he will also miss Tottenham's FA Cup replay against Stevenage, as well as their Premier League encounters with Everton and Stoke.

Such has been Bale's development that he has been linked to a summer switch to Spanish giants Barcelona, although that interest has appeared to cool in recent days. Certainly Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy will do everything in his power to keep Bale at the club.

Levy fought tooth-and-nail to keep Luka Modric at White Harte Lane last summer when it looked like the midfielder was set to be snapped up by Chelsea. It can expected that Levy would do likewise for Bale.