Tottenham Hotspur target, Sebastian Caceres, holds the remarkable record of not being beaten in a one-on-one situation during World Cup qualifying, and he’s even explained how he managed to keep Lionel Messi quiet.
The long-term injury to new signing Micky van de Ven has left Tottenham with a gaping hole in the middle of their defence.
With Cristian Romero also serving a suspension, the fragility of the Spurs backline has been even more exposed.
The fact that Ange Postecoglou fielded full-backs Emerson Royal and Ben Davies in central defence against Aston Villa tells us all we need to know about Eric Dier’s standing in the squad.
Lately, it has emerged that both Aston Villa and Newcastle are also keen on the 24-year-old (Telegraph).
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Caceres explains his defensive instructions
It’s no surprise Caceres’ stock is rising, as the Uruguay defender recently marked Lionel Messi out of the game in a World Cup qualifier. In fact, throughout the qualifying campaign, he is yet to have an opponent pass him by in a one-on-one situation (SofaScore via Record).
In a chat with ESPN, Caceres revealed Marcelo Bielsa’s instructions during the win over Argentina: “Bielsa told us not to be afraid to follow [Messi]. That whoever was closest would make him uncomfortable.
“In the first half, Ugarte did it. But when he got a yellow card, we changed and, in the second half, it was my turn to mark him. If he went too far from my zone I let him, but the priority was to follow him without fear.
“[The idea was] that there would be no free player left and, if Messi moved too far from the area, I would leave him and another teammate would take him.”
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When you turn in a performance like that against the greatest of all time, there’s going to be attention on you, and Caceres will be a wanted man in January. I just hope we’re the ones who win the race for him now.