Former Tottenham defender, Jan Vertonghen, has spoken about his poor form during the last few months of his time in north London, and the reason he’s given is sure to spark debate again.
Much has been written and spoken about in terms of concussion in football, and Dr Eva Carneiro also gave her thoughts exclusively to CaughtOffside.
So, the fact that Vertonghen has blamed the blow to his head during Spurs’ game against Ajax means that the subject has to be taken seriously.
“Lots of people don’t know but I suffered a lot from that hit [against Ajax]: dizziness and headaches,” he told Sporza, cited by Goal.com.
“This is now the first time I am talking about it. I should not have continued playing, it affected me in total for nine months and that’s why I couldn’t bring what I wanted to on the field.
“Everyone thought I was angry with Mourinho, but at that point I just couldn’t [play].
“I still had a year left on my contract, so I had to play, but when I played, I played badly. Not many people knew that, that was my own choice, it is not blaming anyone.
“The fact I got benched had nothing to do with [Mourinho]. I was in a period I could not bring what I should have. I even thought he played me a lot compared to how I performed.
“I just didn’t know what to do. It was game after game and training session after training session.
“Every time there was a new impact. Then the lockdown came and I was able to rest for two months, after that it was a lot better.”
It can’t be emphasised enough that head injuries within the game need to be treated properly. To even be writing such a sentence in this day and age is incredible.
Rugby as a sport took the lead some time ago, and the care and attention that players receive upon being on the receiving end of a head injury is second to none.
Football needs to ensure that there are appropriate protocols in place so that a player is immediately replaced and then assessed properly over the next few days to determine whether they are fit to play again.
There can be no more excuses.