Jan Vertonghen has revealed that he was carrying a head injury last season that prevented him from being able to produce his best form for Tottenham.
The Belgian international left Spurs in the summer after his contract with the club ran out and subsequently signed for Benfica.
While he was one of the club’s most consistent performers for the majority of the eight years he spent in North London, his performances in his final season at Spurs left a lot to be desired.
The 33-year-old has now revealed that the nasty head injury he suffered in the 2018/19 Champions League semi-final against Ajax prevented him from being able to perform at the level he wanted to last season.
There was a lot said about Vertonghen looking distraught on the Tottenham bench after being withdrawn by Jose Mourinho in Tottenham’s 3-2 win over Southampton in February.
The former Ajax man admitted that the disappointment was more to do with his frustration at not being able to give his best due to his head injury rather than frustration at being taken off.
The central defender told Belgian publication Sporza: “That had a lot to do with that blow to my head against Ajax.
“A lot of people don’t know that, but I have had a lot of it for a long time: headaches and dizziness. That’s the first time I’ve said that now. I shouldn’t have played on it and I was a total fool for 9 months. and therefore I couldn’t deliver what I wanted.
“At that change, everyone thought I was angry with Mourinho, but at that moment I just couldn’t. I still had a year contract, so I had to play. But when I played, I played badly. Not many people knew that, that was my own choice, it is not blaming anyone. ”
“I just didn’t know what to do. It was game after game and practice after practice. Each time there was a new impact. Then came that lockdown and I was able to rest for two months and then it was better.”
Despite playing under Mourinho for only around half a season, the former Tottenham man lavished praise on the Portuguese coach, admitting that the players were ready to go through brick walls for him.
Speaking about the Spurs boss, Vertonghen said: “He (Mourinho) was fantastic together with Martinez. You go through fire for such trainers.
“Mourinho is, of course, an outspoken figure, both in a positive and in a negative sense. If you win, you can ask him for anything. If you lose, then you have it.”
“He is super close to his players, those are actually his soldiers. He can really stand above it and make you feel very small. But if you win for him and fight for him, then he is really there for you.”
“The craziest thing about Mourinho? Have you seen the Tottenham documentary” All or nothing “? People mind those conflicts, but that’s not 2 percent of what it actually is. It’s so extreme what happens to him. calling you full throttle and putting his arm around you 10 minutes later and then that is forgotten.”
Spurs Web Opinion
We as fans are often very critical of players’ performances but we often do not have any idea if they are playing through injury or if they have other issues that are affecting them from performing at their best. This revelation from Vertonghen is certainly eye-opening and explains why he seemed to have a sudden decline.
Kieran Tripper also admitted after leaving Spurs that he was essentially playing through an injury for the entirety of his final season at the club. This must serve as a lesson to fans not to be overly critical of players as we are often not aware of the full picture.
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