By Richard Parks
Frank Lampard has hailed Tottenham’s current defensive unit in the Evening Standard as undroppable ahead of their Champions League clash against Juventus.
The Chelsea and Premier League all-time great insisted that Toby Alderweireld would not get in the Spurs starting XI for the last-16 first leg fixture even if he was deemed to be fully fit by the Spurs coaching staff.
Lampard explained that centre-back pairing Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez and full-back duo Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies are must-picks for manager Mauricio Pochettino for the team’s biggest match of the season to date.
The former midfielder is a fan of Alderweireld but would stick with Vertonghen and Sanchez at the back if the Belgian 28-year-old was in the travelling party.
Manager Pochettino revealed at his media conference on Monday evening in Turin that the former Atletico Madrid man was still not up to speed after recently returning from three months on the sidelines.
“Having had a bad hamstring injury like he had, it’s natural that you can’t come straight back into playing games every few days, particularly at the highest level such as this where things can be decided on the small margins,” Lampard wrote in a column in the Evening Standard.
“On face value, if it is just about his match fitness, I completely understand manager Mauricio Pochettino’s decision.
“The full-backs, Kieran Trippier and Ben Davies, have been fantastic too and you’re not going to change them. The second leg is on March 7 so that gives Alderweireld more time to work on his fitness. It will be great for the club if they have a player of his quality back in contention by then.”
Pochettino has rotated his full-backs for much of this and previous seasons, but it is notable that the four of Vertonghen, Sanchez, Trippier and Davies have each started the three consecutive marquee league fixtures of late, against Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United.
In other Tottenham news, Daniel Levy has jetted off on a transatlantic mission to seal a sensational £20million-a-year Spurs deal.