By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that it was an easy decision to choose Jan Vertonghen over Kevin Wimmer for Tottenham’s win over Manchester United.
The Spurs manager claimed the more difficult choice had been to select Wimmer as Toby Alderweireld’s centre-back partner ahead of Eric Dier back in January.
The 23-year-old Austrian repaid Pochettino’s faith and did little wrong in the 15 matches in which he stood in for his senior team-mate but lost out after Vertonghen was deemed fit enough to make his comeback against United.
The Belgium international seamlessly slotted back into the team following a two-and-a-half-month absence as Spurs ran out convincing 3-0 winers at White Hart Lane as the Belgian slotted straight back into the team.
Vertonghen is set to keep his place for Monday’s Premier League clash against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium.
Asked if it had been tough to choose between the two centre-backs last Sunday, Pochettino told Spurs TV on Friday: “It’s better it is done by us as we know the reality inside the changing room and every training session. My difficult decision was to play Kevin when Jan got injured.
“There were different alternatives. Maybe I could have played Eric Dier and Toby [Alderweired] in the centre. But I showed trust in Kevin Wimmer, a young player who came from Germany and needed time to adapt to the team.
“He played very well but Jan Vertonghen is one of the leaders of the team and is an international player. He was fit and deserved to play because he has worked very hard. The decision was easy for me. With the performance and the quality, Jan showed why he deserved to play.”
Three goals in the space of six barely believable second-half minutes from Dele Alli, Toby Alderweireld and Lamela handed the north Londoners all three points against United and kept alive the team’s slim title hopes.
Spurs have narrowed the gap on leaders Leicester to seven points, although they face an uphill challenge to overcome the leaders, who won 2-0 at Sunderland earlier on Sunday.
In other Tottenham news, Moussa Dembele names three fringe players that are just as good as the regulars.