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Jake Thomson, Theo Walcott, and Gareth Bale

JAKE THOMSON wants the joke to be on Port Vale tonight after revealing he was taught to be a prankster by best pal Gareth Bale.

Salisbury ace Thomson shared a room with Bale as team-mates in Southampton's prolific youth academy.

The midfielder his still close mates with Real Madrid superstar Bale, who became the world's most expensive player when he left Tottenham in the summer for £85m.

The contrast could not be greater for Thomson, who lines up for Conference side Salisbury in the FA Cup second round.

"I've known Gareth since we were 14,' said the 24-year-old.

"Everybody thinks he is just a shy Welsh lad but he is a proper wind-up merchant.

"One time we spent a good two hours taping toilet paper to people's doors at one o'clock in the morning. We thought it would freak them out.

"Gareth would always be doing things in the changing room, like hanging people's clothes up to take the mickey out of what they were wearing.

"If anyone used to bring in something questionable, it would be hung up for everyone to see.

"A lot of his practical jokes were anonymous and no-one would have suspected him because he was so quiet.

"Gareth used to wait until people sat on the toilet and place a cup on the top of the door so that when they left the cubicle they got drenched."

Thomson says Bale's record breaking move to Spain is spurring him on to cause an FA Cup upset and reach the third round and a possible tie with a big gun.

"Gareth is a great lad and we are still good mates,' he said. "I always knew he would be a top player and I am very proud of what he has achieved.

"It inspires me to make the most of my career and we have a great chance to make a name for ourselves in the FA Cup.

"We are one win away from the third round when the Premier League teams come in, which could be fantastic for a club of our stature."

Salisbury boss Mikey Harris, Britain's youngest full-time manager at 28, is backing his side to pull of a shock result.

Harris said: "There is no point going into any game thinking that you are not going to get a result. I am very confident."