Pochettino defends Vertonghen and Eriksen omissions


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Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says he has no issues with either Jan Vertonghen or Christian Eriksen after leaving both players out of his starting XI to face Aston Villa on Saturday.

Both men are in the final year of their Spurs’ contracts and could still leave north London this summer with the transfer window still open to many European clubs. Vertonghen watched the season-opener from the stands having been surprisingly dropped from the matchday squad, Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld getting the nod at centre-back.

Eric Dier and Serge Aurier were Pochettino’s defensive options on the bench and the Argentine says he had no problem leaving the Belgium international out. When asked if there was a problem with Vertonghen, Pochettino said there was “not any issue” before telling Sky Sports: “With all the players fit you struggle to find a starting XI.

“This is my sixth season, I think everyone knows me. I am going to play the players who I believe deserve to play. “There is not any issue, only my decision was to play with Toby and Davinson. “We have more than 25 players and everyone needs to understand we have plenty of good players in every position.”

Eriksen also missed out on a place in the starting line-up but did at least get onto the pitch, being brought on as a substitute during the second half. With Spurs having been 1-0 down when the Dane was introduced before going on to win the game 3-1, Pochettino was delighted with the impact made by the reported Real Madrid target.

“Having Christian fresh with the quality he has helped the team achieve the victory,” he said. Eriksen and Vertonghen will hope to be more involved next weekend when Tottenham face champions Manchester City in the Premier League.

The Citizens are 1.36 for the early-season acid test at the Etihad Stadium with Spurs 8.00 and the draw 5.25.

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