Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen has been ruled out of action until December.
The Belgium international limped off at half time against Huddersfield Town recently, and the full extent of the damage has now been revealed.
He has injured his hamstring to a greater degree than first thought.
It’s a hammer blow for Spurs, with Vertonghen a key player for Pochettino.
The 31-year-old has been a rock for the north Londoners since his 2012 move from Ajax. His absence could really be felt as the winter fixtures come thick and fast.
Vertonghen’s injury removes Tottenham’s element of surprise
Vertonghen getting injured is not only bad news in itself, but Pochettino now loses his Mr. Versatile.
The defender is totally comfortable playing in a back three or a back four.
Often, Pochettino has been able to use Vertonghen on the left side of a back three, with Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez in the other two positions.
His injury effectively means that Spurs will surely have to play with a usual flat back four.
Nobody else is left-footed, which is a desirable trait if someone is to play as the left-sided centre-back. Vertonghen is excellent for balance in that sense.
Spurs may not be able to go into games with that element of surprise now, with Alderweireld and Sanchez to surely be paired together.
This could play into the hands of the opposition, and allow them to study the intricacies of the Tottenham backline in more depth.