Vertonghen: Tottenham misfit can turn his career around after Pochettino rollocking
By Harry Sykes
Jan Vertonghen has backed Vincent Janssen to develop from goal-shy reserve to prolific regular at Tottenham after a Mauricio Pochettino wake-up call.
The Dutch striker played a key role in Spurs’ stunning 3-1 Premier League triumph at Swansea on Tuesday night after coming on as a second-half substitute.
Pochettino’s side were 1-0 down when Janssen was introduced after 61 minutes and the Holland international brilliantly laid on the goal in injury time for Son Heung-Min to put Spurs ahead and secure the points.
Spurs supporters acclaimed Jannsen’s display, awarding him man of the match, ahead of Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli and Mousa Dembele.
Subscribe to Football Insider TV now
Janssen’s contribution did not go unnoticed by teammate Vertonghen, who has also seen evidence behind the scenes of how the forward is becoming accustomed to the demands of Pochettino following a tricky start to his Spurs career in which he was branded a misfit and the manager said he needed a “wake-up call”.
“Vincent is adapting very well now,” Vertonghen told the Evening Standard. “He understands the way the gaffer wants him to play. He’s so strong, he just needs that goal and then he’ll be on fire.
“I’m so happy for him. Vincent’s working very hard. Obviously it wasn’t the start he wanted but he’s showing now what he’s capable of. He made a big difference when he came on against Swansea.
“Can he succeed in the Premier League? Definitely, yes. I am convinced of it.”
Janssen joined Tottenham on an £18million transfer from AZ Alkmaar last summer after plundering 27 goals from just 34 league matches last season.
By contrast, the 22-year-old Holland international has scored just five goals from 33 Spurs matches in all competitions, with four of them coming from the penalty spot.
Vertonghen, who swapped Ajax for Spurs in 2012, explained why it is easier for a forward to make a big impact in the Eredivisie.
“You get a lot more space,” explained Vertonghen to the Standard. “Every team in Holland wants to attack and they don’t really think about defending.
“That’s the philosophy – just play 4-3-3 and play good football in possession, and don’t think too much about defending. That’s why I think strikers get so many chances and goals in Holland, and obviously it’s different here.”
Spurs kept their title hopes alive with their sixth consecutive win on Wednesday, although they remain six points adrift of leaders Chelsea.
In other Tottenham news, the London giants have won the race to sign a 32-goal striker who has taken the league by storm.