Now viewed as one of the best Premier League defenders around, Toby Alderweireld wasn’t always destined for great things from a young age like a lot of his colleagues around the league.
Ahead of a return to Belgium with Tottenham facing Gent in the Europa League, Gazet van Antwerpen, relayed by DH, decided to go learn a bit more about the beginnings of both the centre-back and Mousa Dembélé, his teammate both for the Belgium national team and Tottenham.
Speaking the former director of development at Germinal Beerschot, Alderweireld’s first club, the newspaper learnt a few interesting things about the defender’s first years as a footballer when he was playing for Germinal Beerschot.
He said: “His technique and his heading, especially for a centre-back, weren’t good. When I saw him for the first time, his talent didn’t jump out at you. He wasn’t the most gifted.”
Considering both of those traits are key components of the Tottenham defender’s game these days, you wonder how Alderweireld turned things around for himself and earned himself a move to Ajax’s academy.
Haesert has the answer: “Through hard work. From all the ones who emerged, he’s the one who progressed the most, especially technically. He worked a lot on his acceleration and his agility.”
Offered to join the famous Ajax academy, Alderweireld left Belgium aged 15, something the player admitted recently being difficult for him, being very close to his family.
However, Haesert believes the player can be proud of where he’s come from: “When he sees where he is today, I don’t think he regrets any of it.”