By Harvey Byrne
Mauricio Pochettino lost his cool when asked about the future of Tottenham fringe man Kevin Wimmer.
The 23-year-old Austria international was not part of the 18-man match day squad which travelled to Leverkusen on Tuesday, despite an injury to key defender Toby Alderweireld.
Natural midfielder Eric Dier was pushed back into the team’s defence, while youngster Cameron Carter-Vickers was selected on the bench as the centre-back cover.
Wimmer has only made one appearance for Spurs in the new campaign, playing in the club’s 5-0 win over Gillingham in the EFL Cup, casting doubt on his future at the club.
However, Pochettino maintains that the player is part of his plans and lost his cool when the defender was brought up during a post-match press conference after the Leverkusen encounter.
“Why are you confused? You are creating an issue that doesn’t exist,” said Pochettino during the conference, as quoted by ESPN. “You say it’s a big problem for the supporters and media are very concerned.
“His situation was [he was] out of the 18 players. I need to take a decision about that.”
When asked whether Wimmer was part of his plans, the Argentine boss replied: “Why not? When did I tell you he wasn’t in my plans?
“I’m very honest with you. When a player is not in my plans, I tell you quickly but first I tell the player.
“He’s in my plans. When I put him on the bench, another player needs to be put out. Tell me which player you would switch with him? That’s your opinion.”
Wimmer is naturally left-footed, and is considered cover for Belgium international Jan Vertonghen in defence, instead of the right-footed Alderweireld and Pochettino further went on to explain why he omitted the young defender from his squad.
“I’m the manager and I always need to find balance on the bench,” told Pochettino to reporters. “Ben Davies can play as a centre-back or as a full-back. I need another right, not another left [foot]. If something happens with [Eric] Dier or [Kieran] Tripper, I need a right foot. So the decision is to give balance to the bench and the team if something happens.
“The level we have is very competitive. Cameron shows in every session he is at the same level as others. Sometimes it’s Cameron, sometimes Kevin, sometimes Ben Davies, sometimes Trippier, sometimes [Kyle] Walker.
“He’s in my plans. If he’s not, I’ll tell him first and then you. I’m always honest, you know me very well.”
Wimmer made 21 appearances for Spurs in the last campaign following an injury to Vertonghen.
Many were impressed by his ability to fill in for the Belgian, but he faces tough competition when the centre-back duo are fit.
The Tottenham back four have conceded four goals from their first eight fixtures in the Premier League, maintaining their best defensive record in England’s top flight and keeping their unbeaten record.