Manager claims player’s role at Tottenham have ‘changed drastically’

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Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
Dom Le Roy

When Tottenham Hotspur announced their squad for the Premier League opening fixture against Aston Villa earlier this month, many fans certainly were surprised to see Jan Vertonghen left out.

The central defender has been a mainstay at the heart of the back four over recent seasons which has seen him rack up over 200 Premier League appearances since joining from Ajax.

Mauricio Pochettino decided that the 32-year-old was only worthy of a place on the bench against Manchester City and Newcastle United with the Argentine instead sticking with his pairing of Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez.

Belgium national team boss Roberto Martinez has spoken about Vertonghen’s current situation in North London but stressed that it is not a cause of concern for his selection process after the defender has featured over 100 times for his country.

Vertonghen was named in Belgium’s opening international matches for the Euro 2020 qualifiers against San Marino and Scotland along with Alderweireld.

“His role has changed drastically in just two months,” Martinez told HLN.

“Until June, Jan played everything, including the Champions League final. Now he’s sitting on the bench. 

“But I’m not worried. For the simple reason that we know Jan – he has already played more than 100 international matches and we know how important he is for the national team.

“His situation at Tottenham allows us to take advantage of this: Jan is fresh. (That’s an) advantage for us.“

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