Vertonghen adamant he’s been ready all season

Tottenham Hotspur
jan vertonghen

Tottenham defender Jan Vertonghen says he has been fit and ready to play all season after finally featuring against Arsenal on Sunday.

The long-serving defender made his first appearance of the season for Tottenham in the 2-2 draw with their bitter rivals at the Emirates in Sunday’s North London derby.

Spurs let a two-goal lead slip after Christian Eriksen and Harry Kane put the visitors in a commanding position.

Slack defending allowed both Alexandre Lacazette and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to score and prevent Tottenham from winning at the Emirates in the Premier League for the first time since 2010.

Pochettino decided to play three at the back to try and combat the Arsenal attack of Lacazette, Aubameyang and record signing Nicolas Pepe.

Vertonghen lined up alongside Toby Alderweireld and Davinson Sanchez, who have been the first-choice pairing at the back this season.

Speculation was rife that the Belgium international was being left out due to his contract situation, as he is one of a clutch of players who now have just less than a year remaining on their current deals at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

However, Vertonghen has dismissed those claims and says he was left out purely for tactical reasons.

The 32-year-old also stated he was delighted to be back in the fold.

“I’m very, very happy to be back,” Vertonghen said after the 2-2 draw. “[Pochettino] said before the first game against Villa it was a tactical decision and I respect that decision.

“I came back fit. I played in every pre-season game and I didn’t miss a session. Like the manager explained, it was a tactical decision and we players have to accept his decisions.”

Vertonghen has been with Tottenham for seven years now and is one of their longest-serving players in the first-team squad.

He joined from Ajax in 2012 and has gone on to make 286 appearances in all competitions, scoring 10 times.

He has played most Primmer League games since joining but last season only figured 22 times in the top flight and looks more like a back-up option this year as speculation over his long-term commitment to the cause rumbles on.

He had been linked with a return to former club Ajax this summer, while other top European clubs were believed to be looking at him. However, it now looks extremely unlikely that any move will come before the European deadline on Monday and he looks set to be reintegrated into Pochettino’s plans up until January at least.