Tottenham began their Premier League campaign with a 3-1 win over newly-promoted Aston Villa courtesy of a late flourish on Saturday.
While the team that Pochettino named was more or less the one that was expected to start, one thing that caught people by surprise was Jan Vertonghen’s omission from the matchday squad.
What made the situation even more bizarre was the fact that the Argentine confirmed that Vertonghen wasn’t carrying an injury and was simply not selected.
In the post-match press conference, when Pochettino was asked about Vertonghen again, he insisted that he has to work hard to win his place back in the team (Evening Standard).
This seems rather strange, after all, the 32-year-old has been one of our most consistent performers in the last five seasons or so, and one of the best centre-halves in the Premier League.
So, has there been a falling out between the pair?
While it is impossible to tell what goes on in the training pitch and the dressing room, we at Spurs Web think it is extremely unlikely that Vertonghen and Pochettino would have had a falling out.
The pair have had a good relationship since Pochettino arrived at the club and both have often spoken in glowing terms about each other.
Football.London reported that even as recently as the end of the last season, the Argentine said about Vertonghen, “It is good to praise him because he is a very good player who sometimes does not get valued enough.
“I am so proud that he has achieved this level today. Not only on the pitch but off the pitch. In my opinion, he’s one of the best centre-backs in the Premier League and in Europe.
“He has unbelievable quality, physical condition, technique. He is so strong, he looks like a 20-year-old because when he runs he is fast, he is like my new dog — a Rhodesian Ridgeback!”
So, it is extremely unlikely that the 47-year-old has suddenly changed his mind about the defender. What is much more likely is that Pochettino preferred to start Davinson Sanchez over the Belgian due to the physical nature of Villa’s forward line.
Football London add that Vertonghen was apparently originally going to be on the bench, but after he didn’t take the news too well, Poch decided to drop him completely.
Jan has been known to argue, as Football London quote Poch saying this last year: “It is true that we clash a lot in training because [Jan] is clever and always has an argument and a reason why, but in the end I appreciate a lot his efforts in giving the team what we expect from him.”
Let’s hope that all is back to normal against City.
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