It’s impossible to ignore the influence Toby Alderweireld’s had on Tottenham’s emergence as serial Premier League title challenges. Compared to the dark, dark days of Michael Dawson and Younes Kaboul, Alderweireld has been part of either the best or second-best defence in the Premier League (in terms of goals conceded) for each of the last three seasons – harking back to his year-long loan at Southampton.
And yet, in some ways that does a disservice to a compatriot and centre-back partner of incredible consistency in Jan Vertonghen who, at this point, makes an incredibly strong case for being the best left-footed centre-half in the world.
Vertonghen has been nothing short of immense this season, particularly in the Champions League where he excelled as a left wing-back at the Bernabeu and was pivotal in Tottenham beating Real Madrid at Wembley, and Sunday’s 1-0 win over Crystal Palace produced yet another convincing display.
The 97-cap Belgian played a key role in keeping a clean sheet against Roy Hodgson’s plucky side, winning the most aerial duels of any Spurs player while ranking second for tackles, aerial duels won and interceptions.
But it was what Vertonghen – who Transfermarkt value at £31.5million – did on the ball that showed why it’s so beneficial to have a left-footed centre-half as talented as him in the side. Only Eric Dier completed more passes than the 31-year-old, who also created the joint-most chances of any Tottenham star and even ventured forward far enough to have an effort at goal, coming in from the left-hand side.
It’s that combination of not only quality but also left-footed balance in possession, alongside his clear defensive abilities, that makes Vertonghen such an invaluable asset and arguably the one of the best in the world. His form this season has even started to outshine Alderweireld’s – which is quite the statement in itself considering how well he’s performed since arriving in England from Atletico.
Who do you think is the better centre-back, Tottenham fans? Let us know by voting below…