Andre Villas-Boas’ heart would have sunk when he saw Danny Rose go down injured earlier in the season because with Benoit Assou-Ekotto away, the club has no out and out left-back without Rose available.
The natural choice for AVB was to move the left sided Jan Vertonghen into the left-back role, sparingly using Kyle Naughton down that side of the defence.
Vertonghen is a top class professional and a top player, able to play a variety of different roles and positions in defence but he’s urged the manager to move him back into his more natural central position.
“It feels like that sometimes (unhappy in another role). I can play at left-back and I can help the team at times. But everyone knows I am not a left-back. Once there are injuries, I’m the first to fill in the gap. Sometimes it’s better if you can play in only one position,” he told the Sun.
The frustration is double edged.
Vertonghen will be frustrated because he’s being played out of position but he’ll also be frustrated because the recent performances of the first team have been flat.
With no other left-back available, AVB has no other choice than to urge Vertonghen to continue playing that position because it’s much safer than asking a right sided player to play there, or someone who has no experience in that role.
It’s no surprise that Vertonghen wants to play centrally because he’s one of the most talented centre backs in the Premier League but his frustration hints at a little bit of pressure.
His natural assets are his core strength and his height, which makes him a very difficult defender to get the better of in a central position.
However, he needs to maintain his professionalism because with Rose no nearer to a return from an ankle problem, he may have to play a few more matches yet in that left-back slot.
Tottenham need a big performance this weekend when they take on Newcastle United and a solid win with the three points will go a little way to easing some of the frustration that Vertonghen is currently feeling, along with the fans who will be craving an impressive Tottenham win in the Premier League.
In a strange way, it’s a compliment to Vertonghen that he’s the first asked to fill a problematic position because he’s a reliable and dependable player but he’s undoubtedly better in the middle of the defence.
image: © Gypsy Saskia