Tottenham secured a win over Aston Villa in their Premier League season opener at the weekend, but they did so without Jan Vertonghen.
Spurs came from behind to secure a 3-1 win over Villa in north London on Saturday evening, with Tanguy Ndombele and Harry Kane getting on the scoresheet to turn things around.
Vertonghen played no part in the encounter after being left out of the matchday squad, as he was seen watching the game from the stands with players ruled out through injury.
Given the 32-year-old featured in 34 games last season and has made 285 appearances for Tottenham since joining them in 2012, he is undoubtedly one of the most important figures in Pochettino’s squad.
In turn, it was a surprise to see him not involved at the weekend with no suggestion of an injury being behind the decision, and now The Daily Mail report that the Argentine tactician purposely left him out after displaying poor fitness levels and attitude in pre-season.
That will come as quite a surprise for most given the stalwart’s commitment and application over the years, and it will certainly be a disappointment for Tottenham fans who will surely be less than impressed that a senior player was dropped for such a reason.
Time will tell if Vertonghen will win Pochettino over to regain his place in the side for the clash with Man City this weekend, as Spurs will surely want to be as close to full strength as possible for such a difficult encounter.
Nevertheless, with Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld getting the nod last time out, they will hope to continue to build their partnership and avoid being dropped in favour of Vertonghen.