Tottenham: Vertonghen talks squad depth; Janssen on choosing Tottenham; Praise for Alli
Spurs secured a well-earned Champions League point against Bayer Leverkusen earlier this week and are going strong domestically too. Mauricio Pochettino’s success last season was based around a core group of the first XI staying fit all season and playing together in most matches; Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Eric Dier, Moussa Dembele, Dele Alli and Harry Kane.
However, many of those players who were so integral last term have spent time on the treatment table at the start of this campaign. Heung Min Son, a peripheral figure last season, has stepped up to the mark and summer signings Moussa Sissoko and Victor Wanyama have also excelled. Quoted in the Daily Mirror, Vertongen claims Spurs early season form in spite of so many injuries has shown that their squad is stronger than last season:
“I think we’ve shown it.” he said. “It started with Harry. People said it about Hugo, but Michel Vorm replaced him against Liverpool. Eric showed it now.
“There is a strength to this team. Especially after the summer transfer window, some great players came in.
“We can miss almost anyone, obviously not eight or nine players but the squad is so strong. Against Leverkusen we showed that, in a performance without Toby, without Kyle Walker.”
Whether coping without so many key individuals is sustainable over a longer period remains to be seen. Kane’s return will be a welcome one, because Tottenham are not a free scoring team and need all the goals they can get. Pochettino has adapted well to Dembele’s continued absence by switching from a 4-2-3-1 to a 4-1-4-1. The Belgian powerhouse was one of the first names on the team sheet last season, but now faces a fight to regain his place in the starting XI. Nevertheless, the fact Pochettino has so many options at his disposal can only be a positive.
Elsewhere, Vincent Janssen has been speaking to Dutch outlet Helden about why he turned down other options to move to White Hart Lane in the summer. The Dutch striker has only one Spurs goal to his name so far, a penalty in the EFL Cup against Gillingham, following an £18 million move from AZ Alkmaar. It is far too early to start writing him off, and he has showed some nice touches and plenty of endeavour so far in his Spurs career. However, Kane’s ankle injury was a chance for him to get his feet under the table and it hasn’t quite materialised; Son was preferred through the middle against Manchester City. Janssen said:
“There were clubs that wanted to pay even more money than Spurs. But I immediately told AZ: ‘I just want Tottenham and not to a club that might be offering you more.
“Wolfsburg was interested and also a club in the Premier League, but I think it is not right to call it, too.”
Finally, Arsenal’s record Premier League appearance holder Ray Parlour has lavished praise on Spurs’ Dele Alli, claiming he would rather him in his team than Manchester United’s Paul Pogba. Speaking on Alan Brazil’s UpFront podcast, Parlour admitted that the choice between the two players was a difficult one but plumped for Alli:
“Dele Alli is superb. The debate was Alli or Pogba. A lot of people would go with Alli.
“He has a knack of getting into the right areas and scoring a goal. He is an all-round good footballer. Spurs have a real gem in their side. What a signing for £5m from MK Dons.”
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