Mauricio Pochettino wanted to make an example out of Jan Vertonghen against Aston Villa – Times

Jan Vertonghen’s no-show vs Aston Villa

Many would argue that Tottenham have the best centre-half pairing in the division.

Belgians Toby Alderwiereld and Jan Vertonghen have worked brilliantly together in recent seasons.

However, against Aston Villa last weekend, Vertonghen watched the match from the stands.

Reports quickly confirmed that Vertonghen wasn’t injured, and after the game Mauricio Pochettino said that Vertonghen was left out of the squad for purely tactical reasons:

With all the players fit you struggle to find a starting XI.

This is my sixth season, I think everyone knows me. I am going to play the players who I believe deserve to play.

There is not any issue, only my decision was to play with Toby and Davinson.

Pochettino wanted to make an example out of Jan Vertonghen

However, according to Times reporter Gary Jacob on Tuesday, there was a specific reason for Vertonghen’s omission against Villa:

Jan Vertonghen dropped against Aston Villa because of his fitness levels and pre-season. Pochettino wanted to make a statement.

Vertonghen’s contract at Tottenham expires next summer.

Will Christian Eriksen stay at Spurs?

Another Tottenham player close to running down their contract is Christian Eriksen.

Eriksen was left on the bench against Aston Villa, however the Dane’s second-half introduction changed the contest.

The Times assess Eriksen’s possible exit from Spurs this summer, saying:

Both Madrid clubs and Juventus are keen and the Denmark international has made little attempt to disguise his desire to find a new challenge after six years in north London. 

The European transfer window closes in around three weeks’ time.

Also see: New Tottenham contract could double Christian Eriksen’s wages, Dane may insist on exit clause.

Tottenham’s Tanguy Ndombele confirms ‘difficulty’ after Aston Villa.

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