Spurs must start Alderweireld against Dortmund

Toby Alderweireld was a second-half substitute as Tottenham Hotspur beat Leicester City at the weekend to stay in touch in the title race.

Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez played at centre-back and the Colombia international was on the scoresheet as Spurs won 3-1 at Wembley.

On the chalkboard

Spurs face a much sterner test later this week when they take on Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men have been grinding out results in recent weeks, beating the likes of Fulham, Watford and Newcastle United by a single goal before their win over the Foxes.

Even that game was marked by periods of uncertainty – Harvey Barnes missed a number of gilt-edged chances while Hugo Lloris saved a Jamie Vardy penalty – as defensive panic regularly gripped Spurs when Leicester attacked.

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Alderweireld was introduced as a second-half substitute to help calm Spurs’ nerves in the latter stages of the game, with Spurs moving to three-at-the-back.

It worked, as Son Heung-Min went on to score in injury time to make the points completely safe.

And it would make sense for Pochettino to play Alderweireld against Dortmund, with the likes of Jadon Sancho and Marco Reus readying themselves for the trip to London.

Calming presence

Alderweireld is a Rolls-Royce of a defender and has an almost telepathic partnership with Belgian compatriot Jan Vertonghen.

Deploying him in the backline does not necessarily mean that either Sanchez or Vertonghen need to drop out, either, with Pochettino able to play a back five.

That would allow the wing-backs – be it Kieran Trippier or Serge Aurier on the right and Danny Rose on the left – to press forward and affect the game in the final third.

Alderweireld has the ability and reading of the game to mop up behind them, too, in case there is a mistake made further up the field.

Dortmund boast a fearsome array of attacking options and it would make little sense for Alderweireld to sit on the bench when he can help counter those threats.

Placing him in the heart of defence is not only logical for Pochettino, but it is also necessary if Spurs are to collect a good result to take to Germany with them.

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