Back in Tottenham’s line up for the FA Cup tie against Rochdale, Toby Alderweireld will now have to wait and see if Mauricio Pochettino decides to use him against Crystal Palace next Sunday.
Left out entirely for the North London derby, the Belgium international’s absence caused his home country’s press to once again cover his contract negotiations with the club, suggesting his omission was due to Daniel Levy tactics in trying to force him to agree to Spurs’ terms.
Publicly, however, his manager claimed he was simply being cautious with his star defender, and that’s the line also used by his national team manager, Roberto Martinez, as he spoke to DH.
Asked about Alderweireld, he said: “I’ve spoken with him. He’s recovered well. It’s nice that his club have given him the time to come back fit. He has a few issues with his contract, but I’m not expecting any problems”.
Killing two birds with one stone, the former Everton manager seemed keen to allay fears regarding the Tottenham centre-back, and, by the sound of things, everything should be sorted fairly soon.
With a tough second half of the season, during which the London club will be competing in the Champions League, the FA Cup and for a top four spot in the Premier League, Pochettino will need every man in his squad.
That includes Alderweireld, and, now that he’s full back, he’ll also want him to be tied down for the foreseeable future, even if that’s currently out of his hands.