This article is part of Football FanCast’s Pundit View series, which provides opinion and analysis on recent quotes from journalists, pundits, players and managers…
Jan Vertonghen has denied that fitness issues were behind his absence from the Tottenham Hotspur team but has reaffirmed his commitment to the club, per The London Evening Standard.
The Belgium international played for Spurs for the first time this term on Sunday in the 2-2 draw with Arsenal.
He was not even included in the squad for the opening game of the season, against Aston Villa, and The Daily Mail claimed that his omission came from a lack of fitness at the beginning of pre-season.
Vertonghen has now denied that, though, and says he is fully focused on helping Spurs win their first major trophy since 2008.
He said: “No, no, no – I came back fit. I played in every pre-season game and I didn’t miss a [training] session.
“Like the manager explained before the first game against Villa, it was a tactical decision and I respect that decision. We players have to accept his decisions. I’m very, very happy to be back.”
He added, when asked if he could sign a new contract soon: “No. I just want to focus on football now.
“When you don’t play, you realise how important it is and it’s extremely important for me. I’ve been so long with the guys, I love the club and I just want to play as much as I can.
“I feel great and I just want to help the club to win trophies.”
This is good news from Vertonghen.
Whatever the reasons for his absence, he has respected Mauricio Pochettino’s decisions, all the while reaffirming his commitment to Spurs.
His contract expires at the end of the season and one feels that talks will have to get underway swiftly to ensure that he remains in north London.
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But these quotes suggest that he is as committed as ever to the club.
With Spurs attempting to grow and take the next step towards actually lifting silverware, that can only be a good thing.