Despite still being a week away, Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld has been ruled out of the crucial second leg with Juventus at Wembley due to continuous problems with a hamstring injury.
The news is a blow after Spurs performed superbly to come away with two crucial away goals from the Allianz Stadium in Turin but Head coach Mauricio Pochettino is keen to make it clear that he will not rush the defender back with so much still to play for including the FA Cup, a top four in the league and if all goes well, further progression in the Champions League.
Ahead of his side’s visit of Rochdale in the FA Cup, Pochettino was asked about Alderweird in a media press conference and said: –
“He is still not participating with the group; the answer is clear.”
This is because it turns out the Belgian has torn a tendon and is worse than just the ‘muscle problem’ the injury was first thought and Pochettino was quick to highlight this: –
“We don’t take our decisions based on public opinion. When we take them, it’s because we have assessed and analysed.”
No doubt, the 28-year-old was a big player for Spurs last season, but his hamstring has been a notable cause for concern this season with the former Ajax man missing large chunks of this season.
It also comes at a time when rumours are rife of contract talks stalling with Barcelona and Manchester reportedly waiting in the wings for developments.
Alderweireld earns a report £50,000 per week but is eager to be more in line with top earners such as Harry Kane and Hugo Lloris who earn six figures.
Currently, the Belgian has 18 months left to run on his contract but if rumours are to be believed, then the Spurs hierarchy would listen to offers in the summer with a move overseas no doubt the first choice for the club.
Whatever happens in the summer, what matters is the here and now and with plenty still to play for, there is the hurdle of Huddersfield, Juventus, Bournemouth, and Newcastle to come before we can take a breather and rest due to the international break.