Alderweireld’s World Cup warning

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Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez has warned Toby Alderweireld he needs regular game time at Tottenham ahead of the World Cup.

Toby played the full 90 minutes in Belgium’s 4-0 friendly win over Saudi Arabia on Tuesday, and it was only his third match since suffering a hamstring injury against Real Madrid on November 1st

The 29-year-old did declare himself fit in late January, and subsequently played two FA Cup ties before a further setback on his hamstring.

Mauricio Pochettino had previously stated that he is trying to protect the centre-back’s career by holding him in reserve. However Alderweireld’s contract situation is adding to speculation which has thus added to the confusion around the centre-backs future.

Davinson Sanchez and Jan Vertonghen have been Pochettino’s centre back pairing recently and have struck up a formidable partnership and former Everton coach Martinez has warned Alderweireld that what seemed a certain spot in the Belgian side may not be as secure.

“Every player needs to get a really good period of football now,” :Martinez said. “Seven weeks is not a lot of time. Certain players that play a lot of minutes, the playing time now is not essential.

He added: “But [for] other players who have not played that much – and Toby can be one of those – it is important.But what you see with Toby is that urgency and the defensive, natural habit of intercepting any threat around him.

Martinez also added: “I saw him really sharp during the camp and [against Saudi Arabia] it was great to see that he was really strong in the last 15 minutes physically. And he lasted 90 minutes in a really good way.”

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