The tense situation between Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino and star defender Toby Alderweireld looks to have gone up a notch and emotions will be on the verge of breaking point.
The Belgian centre back has been at loggerheads with his manager this season over a number of issues, be it his ongoing contractual wrangle, his recovery from injury or his lack of playing time in the senior side.
The club are doing their absolute best to keep a lid on things, and in public all is calm, but you can be certain that behind closed doors, the tension will be almost unbearable.
Now Pochettino and Alderweireld have another aspect to consider, which could have catastrophic consequences.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has issued a stark warning to the defender, insisting that his place in the national side is at risk if he continues to fail to feature for the Lilywhites between now and the end of the season, meaning he could miss out on playing in the World Cup in Russia.
The former Everton boss was quoted by the Guardian as saying: “Every player needs to get a really good period of football now.
“Seven weeks is not a lot of time. Certain players that play a lot of minutes, the playing time now is not essential.
“But other players who have not played that much, and Toby can be one of those – it is important.”
The 29-year-old proved his fitness by playing the full 90 minutes on Tuesday in his country’s 4-0 win over Saudi Arabia, but has failed to feature for his club since the 2-2 draw with Rochdale back on the 18th February.
His last league appearance was all the back in October, and it appears as though Pochettino might have more than just his fitness at mind when making his team selection.
If there are any personal politics between the pair, they need to be sorted as soon as possible for the defender’s sake, but that might be easier said than done.
Pochettino could well let the 74-cap star sweat it out on the sidelines, using the risk of missing out from Belgium’s World Cup squad as an ultimatum to get him to put pen to paper over a new contract.
Martinez adding an extra dimension to fan the flames has put this situation on a knife edge, and it is just a matter of time until one side falls.
In other Tottenham news, the club could be set for a massive overhaul after a goal machine joined an ever growing list.