Pochettino must avoid replacing Vertonghen with this Tottenham 24-year-old at all costs
COMMENT By Matt Farr
Tottenham were dealt a major blow to their season’s ambitions when star defender Jan Vertonghen was forced off against West Brom on Saturday with an ankle injury.
It has since been revealed that the Belgium international could be set to miss up to two months, according to Belgian journalist Kristof Terreur.
Not only does that rule Vertonghen out of Saturday’s top-of-the-table clash with Manchester City, but he is also likely to miss important clashes in February against Liverpool and KAA Gent – the latter in the Europa League.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino now faces the dilemma of who to bring in to replace the 29-year-old in his side. He opted to go three-at-the-back against West Brom, allowing full-backs Danny Rose and Kyle Walker to push further forward.
Even in the absence of Vertonghen, Pochettino is not likely to change the formation that worked so perfectly at the weekend, so the issue lies with whether it will be Kevin Wimmer, Ben Davies or a younger face like Cameron Carter-Vickers that gets the nod.
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Pochettino should not, however, be considering Wimmer at any cost.
Due to the formidable partnership that Vertonghen formed at the heart of the defence with fellow Belgium international Toby Alderweireld, Wimmer has found first-team opportunities greatly restricted this season.
He has managed just three Premier League appearances this term, with seven games overall, and simply does not look the best option for a regular stint in the side.
He does not look nearly as match-ready as Ben Davies, who has made almost twice as many appearances as the Austria international this season.
The issue also lies in what role Pochettino wants him to play. Pochettino will desire a ball-playing defender to come into the side, and Davies once again is the better fit.
There have been times this season when Wimmer has not looked comfortable on the ball at all, particularly in the 1-1 draw with rivals Arsenal back in November, where he topped off a disappointing display with an own-goal.
Furthermore, with Rose and Walker spending so much time bombing forward into the attacking-third, Pochettino will feel more comfortable picking Davies because of his versatility.
A left-back by trade, Davies can push wider to cover Rose if needed, while Wimmer is only really adept at playing in the centre.
Pochettino and Tottenham need a player with an all-round defensive ability to do the business for them in the coming weeks, and sadly Wimmer is not it.
In other Tottenham news, here is how Tottenham could line-up in Vertonghen’s absence against Man City.