Former Spurs captain Gary Mabbutt has told Football FanCast that Tottenham Hotspur miss the influence of Jan Vertonghen in central defence.
The Belgium international left the club at the end of last season, joining Benfica on a three-year contract.
The 33-year-old remains a central part of his country’s plans, captaining his country in both of their recent World Cup qualifiers against Wales and the Czech Republic.
He has won 125 caps for his country and has made 32 appearances in all competitions for Benfica this term, belying his age.
Last season, he played 30 times in all competitions, despite a serious dip in form. He was even substituted in the FA Cup clash with Southampton and appeared close to tears on the bench.
But Mabbutt says that Spurs clearly miss the veteran centre-back.
Speaking exclusively to FFC, he said: “For whatever reason I think he felt that he wanted a change.”
He added: “I thought he brought a lot to the club during his time there and he’s still captain of Belgium and doing exceedingly well.
“Of course you miss a player like him, I think that’s probably an obvious statement.”
Mabbutt even believes that Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld previously formed the very best defensive partnership in world football.
He added: “Two or three seasons ago I thought Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld were the best partnership in the world, working together for club and country.
“And you’re pushing each other every time you play to make sure you reach the level you want to reach. So I thought it was a fantastic partnership, and I was very disappointed personally when Jan went.”