Why is the defensive stalwart warming the Spurs bench?

New players, new management and plans ahead for a new stadium would galvanize most Premier League teams in order to succeed.

In Tottenham Hotspur’s case, it has gone completely in the opposite direction. Currently lying in 12th in the table, they have lost five games already, including defeats to West Brom, Stoke City and Newcastle United all at White Hart Lane. This is definitely the Tottenham Hotspur that nobody is used to.

The days of a strong challenge for that crucial fourth spot in the table are slowly fading for the north Londoners. This maybe music to Spurs fans’ ears, but selling Gareth Bale to Real Madrid for a staggering £80m was the wrong move by moneyman chairman Daniel Levy. The players that have been brought in are not bad, but you would expect them to settle into England’s top flight quicker.

Signs of quality are starting to creep into the Spurs team from the likes of top scorer Nacer Chadli, skilful midfielder and record signing Erik Lamela and playmaker Christian Eriksen. Maybe this was the problem for them, buying players that had no experience in English football.

However, the one problem that new gaffer Mauricio Pochettino has created is leaving his best centre back on the bench. Jan Vertonghen could easily fit into any Premier League side, but Pochettino thinks that fellow countryman Federico Fazio is a far better fit in the line-up than the Belgium international. Whilst Tottenham have conceded more goals (16) than they have scored (14) so far, Vertonghen has been surplus to requirements and all he can do is sit and watch the likes of the clumsy Vlad Chiriches perform well below standard in his place.

This is a defender who was courted by the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United in the summer. Surely if players at your club were linked with a move to these clubs with huge ambition, calibre and quality that he is capable of performing on a regular basis to the best of his ability? Pochettino doesn’t think so.

The 27-year-old centre half, who can also operate as a left-back, is not only known for his defensive ability, but also his attacking prowess. In his first season at the club, Vertonghen managed to notch four league goals and three assists. Furthermore, the Belgian nearly made as many successful dribbles (28), as he did appearances (34), while the solid defender also made a total of 204 tackles and interceptions, the fourth best in the division.

One could only assume that there has been some sort of disagreement between the management team and the player himself which has resulted in Vertonghen watching his teammates under perform. Spurs’ only hope of success is through the Europa League, where they have been faultless thus far.

Whether Vertonghen will still be a part of that come January remains to be seen, but he certainly doesn’t deserve to be warming the bench.