Kevin Wimmer could be ready for a Premier League title fight at the end of deputising for Jan Vertonghen, according to Tottenham coach Mauricio Pochettino.
Austria defender Wimmer has been tipped to come of top-flight age in Vertonghen’s expected two-month absence due to knee-ligament damage.
The 23-year-old should start Saturday’s FA Cup fourth-round trip to Colchester – and then Pochettino wants him to jump at the chance for an extended first-team run.
Pochettino believes holding off from bolstering his defensive resources in January will allow Wimmer crucial experience that could pay off handsomely if Spurs are chasing top honours come the end of the season.
“This is a good example of when we rotate and give the possibilities to other players,” said Pochettino.
“You never know when something wrong can happen and we are sure Kevin (Wimmer) can do well.
“He has had the possibility to play in different games, not as much as maybe he expects. But he has been good.
“He has shown the quality and his team-mates trust him.
“It is important because you never know when a problem will arrive and maybe the player who does not play too much will be a key player to achieve big things.”
Confirming centre-back Vertonghen is likely to miss two months with his knee problem, Pochettino explained why he could hold off from trying to bring in defensive reinforcements before the close of the transfer window.
“I understand you ask me why we rotate but the squad is important,” said Pochettino.
“If something happens in the future and you have the last five games of the Premier League, in this moment you need help from the player who has not played too much.
“If they deserve to play you need to give them the possibility to play.
“Maybe the injury will be two months for Jan (Vertonghen). You never know about injuries and how the knee reacts and the process.
“Sometimes it is early or late, all bodies are different.
“But in my mind it is two months.”
Wimmer made his Premier League debut in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace, replacing Vertonghen in the closing stages.
The former Cologne defender joined Spurs in the summer, but is now being tipped to cement his future with the club.
“He is very calm, he has a very good left foot, he’s very strong, and a very good person,” said Pochettino.
“He has a lot of good attributes.
“He is very young, and now he has more possibility to play.
“He is like Vertonghen – but younger!”
England manager Roy Hodgson is thought to have told Andros Townsend to leave Tottenham for regular first-team football to boost his chances of making the Euro 2016 squad.
Townsend joined Newcastle for B#12million this week, with Pochettino insisting it would have been “normal” for Hodgson to tell the pacy midfielder to chase regular first-team football.
“I’m not surprised,” said Pochettino, of Hodgson’s apparent advice to Townsend.
“It doesn’t surprise me because if you’re manager of the national team you try to tell your players and give them good advice.
“If it happened then I think it’s normal, his point of view.
“And you must always respect his point of view.
“I think Andros is a very good player.
“But sometimes it’s about dynamics because last season he played a lot, but this season he was injured from the beginning, another player took his place and it was difficult for him to come back into the team.
“It’s all about confidence and it was difficult for him to take his place again.
“I think he believed it was better to move.”
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