Although Jose Mourinho had a fully fit Tottenham squad to choose from in the last couple of matches, Toby Alderweireld was conspicuous by his absence at the heart of the defence.
The Belgian has been in great form for the north Londoners during the 2019/20 campaign, but former Spurs goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, believes he knows the reason why Mourinho hasn’t been playing Alderweireld.
“It would appear that is what he (Mourinho) wants to go with,” Robinson told Football Insider.
“He has had a fully fit squad to choose from and he has left Vertonghen and Alderweireld on the bench for both games and Alderweireld is the best defender at the club.
“Sanchez and Eric Dier is a pairing he is giving time to ahead of next season. Mourinho has been brought in to build a winning team and squad and he needs to be given time to do that.
“Fourth-place is out of the question for them so he is building towards next season which will come very quickly. It is clear that Sanchez and Dier are his preferred two.”
At 31 years of age, the defender still has at least a couple of good seasons at this level but if Robinson is correct in his assumption, then he won’t be plying his trade at the new White Hart Lane for much longer, or if he is, it will only be as a reserve.
For a full international that’s hardly likely to be acceptable, meaning that a move elsewhere in the summer could well be on the agenda.
Having said that, the defender did only sign a new contract at the back end of last year, which isn’t due to expire until 2023, so any team interested in acquiring his services won’t get him on the cheap.
Mourinho is certainly playing a very dangerous game, and it remains to be seen whether it will backfire on him.