By Editor Wayne Veysey
Mauricio Pochettino has a left-back crisis going into Tottenham’s clash against Chelsea on Sunday due to the unavailability of senior pair Danny Rose and Ben Davies.
Here, Football Insider analyses which of the trio should get the nod to take on the makeshift role at Stamford Bridge:
Vertonghen – NO
Pochettino is not used to getting criticised by Tottenham fans but he felt the full wrath of the Lilywhites massive after omitting Vertonghen from his starting XI against Monaco despite the unavailability of fellow Belgian Toby Alderweireld. To say the decision backfired is an understatement. The partnership of Kevin Wimmer and Eric Dier was a reminder of the not-so-glory-glory days before Alderweireld arrived at White Hart Lane to transform Spurs into the meanest defence in the land. In the former Southampton man’s absence once again due to a knee injury, Vertonghen must start in central defence to lead, holler and organise the back line. Neither Wimmer or Dier have the authority or experience to do so. Pochettino appears to be edging towards starting Vertonghen at left-back against Chelsea, a position he has played in regularly in the past for club and country, but the manager should resist the temptation.
Wimmer – NO
The Austrian has had a difficult second season at White Hart Lane. He slipped down the pecking order earlier in the campaign behind teenager Cameron Carter-Vickers and has looked less than convincing in his four appearances to date. Nevertheless, Wimmer has the potential to be a fine centre-back if he can shake off his nervousness in possession and troubles when nimble attackers run at him. The 24-year-old started at left-back for Austria during the last international break but had a poor game and was at fault in the build-up to James McClean’s goal for the Republic of Ireland. He lacks the mobility and ability to overlap to fill in at left-back and Spurs fans would be nervous about in-form pair Pedro and Victor Moses running at him.
Trippier – YES
Yes, he is a right-back by trade and, yes, he was poor against Monaco in midweek in his favourite position. But the 26-year-old is an experienced full-back and possesses the mobility and turning speed that eludes the larger frames of Vertonghen and Wimmer. In a foot race, Trippier is the most likely of the trio to be able to keep up with Pedro and Moses, not to mention he has more recent experience of playing on the flank and overlapping. Spurs’ system is geared to making best use of their pace in wide areas, predominantly through their full-backs, and the former Burnley man can provide a key attacking threat at the Bridge, albeit from his less favoured side. James Milner has also showed for Liverpool this season that right-footed players can thrive at left-back.
In other Tottenham news, Spurs have made a formal complaint about a senior Chelsea figure.