Darren Bent has tipped Jose Mourinho to drop Joe Rodon and bring Toby Alderweireld back into the Tottenham starting XI against Arsenal on Sunday.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Spurs striker and boyhood Gunners fan admitted it would be “harsh” for the Portuguese boss to axe the Wales international after an impressive first start against Chelsea last week.
As confirmed by Mourinho earlier this week, Alderweireld has returned to training after recovering from a groin injury and is in contention to play in Sunday’s north London derby.
That is a surprise as only a week earlier the Belgium international had been ruled out for up to four weeks.
His absence saw summer signing Rodon step into the starting XI last weekend against Chelsea alongside Eric Dier but Bent has suggested the 23-year-old will have to settle for a place on the bench at best.
Asked if he expected Alderweireld to retake his place on Sunday, Bent told Football Insider: “Yeah, it would be harsh but Toby’s been playing well for a little while, in the league I think they’ve been beaten once and that was the opening day of the season.
“So for me and Spurs, I’d probably have to say yeah, I know that Rodon came in for one game and did well but Toby’s been doing it all season so in that regard, they’ll probably say it’s not been harsh.
“At least they know now, with Joe Rodon, that they’ve got adequate backup so the fact that, if one of them do go down, he’s more than capable of stepping in and defending well.
“I think he did himself justice last week with his performance against Chelsea.”
With Rodon ineligible for Thursday’s Europa League draw with LASK, Davinson Sanchez stepped into the side to partner Dier at the heart of the defence.
A win against Arsenal will keep Spurs at the top of the Premier League table ahead of Liverpool’s clash with Wolves later on Sunday.
In other Tottenham news: ‘That’s So Sad For The Spurs Players’ – Pundit reacts to huge update pre-Arsenal.