By London correspondent Tony Hughes
Jan Vertonghen has revealed that returning to the Tottenham side alongside such well-drilled team-mates after a lengthy absence was like a ‘warm bath’.
Vertonghen made his comeback in last Sunday’s 3-0 win over Manchester United following two-and-a-half months out with knee ligament damage.
Mauricio Pochettino showed great faith in the Belgium international by naming him in the starting X1 at White Hart Lane on Sunday ahead of Kevin Wimmer.
The 23-year-old Austrian had done little wrong in the 15 matches in which he stood in for his senior team-mate but lost out after the Spurs manager deemed Vertonghen fit enough to play.
The centre-back was delighted to get the nod and named the six-team-mates who helped smooth his return to the team.
“I have to thank the gaffer for his confidence in me, because Kevin has been outstanding, together with Toby they’ve been unbelievable, they kept the run going like we were doing until I was out against Palace,” Vertonghen told the Spurs website.
“They kept it going, so big compliments to them. Toby and I have been playing together for such a long time and with the full-backs [Kyle Walker and Danny Rose], Hugo [Dier], Eric [Dier] just in front, Mousa [Dembele] as well (coming back) it’s like a warm bath.
“I’ve known them such a long time and they helped me through the game.”
Three goals in the space of six 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 the same day.
Vertonghen is in no doubt about where the current Tottenham team stands compared to the others he has played in during his time at the club.
“The way we play now is better than before,” the former Ajax defender told the Spurs website. “It’s my fourth season and this team is something special.
“You feel it at the training ground, here (White Hart Lane), the feeling in this team and this club is the best I’ve experienced in these four years.”
In other Tottenham news, Moussa Dembele names three fringe players that are just as good as the regulars.