By Dominic Toner
Jan Vertonghen has explained that he spoke individually with team-mate Eric Dier before Tottenham’s Champions League clash.
Spurs picked up a 0-0 draw away to Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday night and the centre-back pair kept a clean sheet thanks to an inspired performance by goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
Senior defender Toby Alderweireld missed the European tie through injury, meaning versatile midfielder Dier slotted into defence to partner Vertonghen.
Sky Sports claim that Alderweireld will not make an instant return from his knee injury and is likely to miss the next two matches against Bournemouth and Liverpool in the EFL Cup.
Vertonghen, 29, has revealed that he held separate discussions with Dier ahead of the Leverkusen match and discussed tactic with his temporary partner.
“We spoke before the game,” Vertonghen said, as quoted by the Guardian. “We sat apart from the group and discussed a couple of things about their strikers – that they played 4-4-2, how to cover each other – and I think it turned out very well.
“He is used to playing centre-back. He turned into a midfielder but he knows how to play there.”
Vertonghen and Alderweireld have formed a strong partnership in the Spurs defence, with the duo also playing together for Belgium’s national team.
They have played a huge role in Spurs’ incredible defensive improvement recently, with the club conceding a league best of just four goals in their first eight games.
Dier, 22, has come under pressure at the start of the campaign and was named on the bench in their last league game against West Brom.
The England international provided great cover in the club’s Champions League group match and filled in for a position he used to play in the early stages of his career.
He has made 96 appearances for Spurs, scoring six goals and supplying four assists in the process.
In other Tottenham team news, Tony Cascarino claims that the club’s star of last season will struggle to land a starting place.