Former Premier League striker Noel Whelan has added his opinion on the perceived fallout between Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino and defender Jan Vertonghen.
The pair made the news at the start of the season when the Spurs boss left his centre-back out of the side for the opening match of the campaign at home to Aston Villa, in what was understood at the time to be down to the fitness of the Belgium international.
Vertonghen actually went on to fail to start any of Tottenham’s first three Premier League outings, finally getting his place back in the side for the North London Derby last weekend, where his team surrendered a 2-0 lead to draw 2-2 with Arsenal.
Prior to that, Pochettino went with the defensive pairing of Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld, leaving the man who has played more than 200 times for Spurs largely out in the cold.
Whelan believes that the manager and his reliable centre-back have had a falling out or a bust up on the training ground, the only explanations he can offer to the bizarre move from the Argentine.
“There’s been a fall-out at the training ground, or something’s happened at the training ground,” the Football Insider website quotes him as saying.
“That’s the only explanation, really.
“Pochettino has showed plenty of times he’s not afraid to leave out the big names if there are issues. He’s done it with Alderweireld, Danny Rose and he’s done it with Christian Eriksen this season.
“If everything is okay, there’s no way a fully fit Vertonghen wouldn’t be in the team. He’s a far more reliable defender than Sanchez and his right-foot, left-foot partnership with Alderweireld is one of the best in the league.
“I’m a massive fan of Vertonghen. He’s been a class act for a long time.”
Vertonghen started for his national team in their 4-0 romp over San Marino on Friday evening, and all eyes will be on the team sheet when Spurs face Crystal Palace at the New White Hart Lane on Saturday, to see if he and Pochettino have settled their differences or if the fallout is continuing.