Jan Vertonghen was left out of the Tottenham Hotspur squad to face Aston Villa because of ‘poor fitness levels’ and an unimpressive pre-season.
That’s according to The Daily Mail, who have provided the lowdown after much speculation about the Belgian’s absence.
Vertonghen was not even named on the bench by Mauricio Pochettino and was instead watching the game from the stands along with new singing Ryan Sessegnon and Dele Alli.
Some thought there had perhaps been a disagreement over a new contract, with the 32-year-old having recently spoken about a lack of moment over an extension (Evening Standard).
After the game Pochettino had insisted he left Vertonghen out for tactical reasons, and it would appear that that is somewhat true if the Mail’s report is to be believed.
Spurs fans will be disappointed by the news as Vertonghen is usually extremely reliable.
That said, it is good management from Pochettino as it sends a clear message to the rest of the squad.
Hopefully £100,000-a-week ace Vertonghen (Spotrac) is able to get up to speed quickly as he remains an important first-team player, although Davinson Sanchez is a very capable replacement.