Mauricio Pochettino surprised Tottenham Hotspur fans by leaving Toby Alderweireld out of his North London derby lineup.
Phil Thompson has told Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday (broadcast on 08/12 from 12:00 pm) that he wonders whether Mauricio Pochettino still trusts Toby Alderweireld after the defender was left out of the starting lineup in Tottenham’s North London derby defeat.
Plenty of Spurs fans were surprised and just as many Arsenal supporters would have been pleased when the teams were announced and Alderweireld was left on the bench. Juan Foyth and Jan Vertonghen were picked at the heart of the defence in the 4-2 defeat.
The confusion surrounding the decision over Alderweireld would have only increased when the centre-back was brought back into the lineup for the midweek win over Southampton.
Pochettino’s decisions have added to the strangeness of what has become a bizarre situation surrounding Alderweireld as his contract continues to run into its final months (via the Guardian).
And Thompson hinted that perhaps the uncertainty over the former Southampton loanee’s future was causing the manager to have his concerns about using him in the big games.
“‘Do I want this guy who’s maybe going to leave the football club? Do I want to put faith in him?’. And I was absolutely gobsmacked [by the derby team selection]. Foyth, maybe he’s going to be a talent but it’s extremely difficult. You put him into that environment last week, plus bring Vertonghen back who is going to be very rusty and you had Alderweireld there on the touchline.
“It had me scratching my head. Toby Alderweireld will get into most team’s centre-back positions.”
In fairness to Alderweireld, his performances out on the pitch have arguably given Pochettino no reason to believe that he would let the team down if he was picked.
The only teams to beat Spurs when Alderweireld has featured this term are Liverpool, Barcelona and Manchester City. So it would be a huge surprise if the Tottenham boss actually had the concerns that Thompson believes he may have had.