Jan Vertonghen was left out of Tottenham’s squad for their opening-day victory over Aston Villa on Saturday – and a report from the Daily Mail has revealed that it was due to a lack of fitness during pre-season.
The 32-year-old, who featured heavily in pre-season and played the first-half of Spurs’ 1-1 draw with Inter Milan the their final friendly a week earlier, looked set to start alongside Toby Alderweireld against Villa, but when team news was released, it was Davinson Sanchez starting alongside Alderweireld and not his usual partner in crime, Vertonghen.
It sent Tottenham fans into panic mode as to why one of their longest serving players was nowhere to be seen on the opening day of a new campaign when no injury had been reported.
The report from the Mail suggested that Mauricio Pochettino was deemed unhappy with the results of Vertonghen’s fitness tests over the course of pre-season and opted to leave him out of the squad. But this is nothing new, the Argentine did exactly the same with Alderweireld against Newcastle United last season, before putting him immediately back into the starting line-up against Fulham the following week.
Vertonghen, who is in the final year of his Spurs contract, could return at Manchester City on Saturday evening.