It was only Toby Alderweireld‘s sixth appearance for Tottenham in 2018 against Fulham, having spent much of the past 12 months surrounded in transfer uncertainty after talks over a new contract broke down.
The Belgian featured for his country at the World Cup and has now returned to contention for the Lilywhites and did not hide away from the action. Alderweireld resumed his usual role as one of the leaders at the back, looking to start moves from deep whilst dominating the Fulham attack.
No man made more clearances than Alderweireld’s five, whilst also making six ball recoveries and proving to be a brick wall in defence alongside Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez.
“I won’t talk about him [Alderweireld], I’ll talk in general always. I want players committed with the team. Players that are not happy, from my point of view, can leave. Then it’s different if they can negotiate with Daniel [Levy, the Spurs chairman] or not. But I want players who are fully committed with the team and want to fight for the team. The players that are here are all committed. Not one told me today that they wanted to find a solution. Today, I am so open to listen to players if they want to leave. But if they are going to be here, I want full commitment. If not, tomorrow we can find a solution. I am so tired talking about this.”
Going forwards, Alderweireld continually looked to play out of the back with the second highest number of passes. Many of those were looking to find a way past a deep Fulham back line, playing long balls from the halfway line when in possession as he looked to put the ball over the top into the path of the likes of Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane.
It was not an outstanding start from Alderweireld, who will feel frustrated that he could not get back quicker to deny Aleksandr Mitrovic the chance to nod into an empty net to equalise in the second half, but it was good enough.
After several months of turmoil, such a display was just what the Belgian would have been hoping for to re-establish himself back amongst the Tottenham defence.