Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino insists it is purely footballing reasons that are preventing club captain Younes Kaboul from getting back into his side.
The 28-year-old has not featured in the Premier League since the 2-1 home defeat to Stoke on November 9 and has made only 12 appearances in all competitions since Pochettino's arrival in the summer.
Kaboul was installed as Pochettino's skipper after the Argentinian had spent some time with the squad, with the announcement made in mid-September.
But the France international has since struggled to hold down a place in Tottenham's starting XI, with the likes of Jan Vertonghen, Federico Fazio and Vlad Chiriches preferred by Pochettino.
It is also believed Tottenham may delve into the January transfer market to recruit another central defender and Pochettino revealed he will not pick Kaboul purely because he is the captain.
"It's a football decision, there is no other explanation," he said when questioned about Kaboul's omission.
"When you decide to pick the starting XI it's not because he's captain or that his name is different from another. You pick the player because it's your job and it's my decision.
"The captain means that you are a leader but because you are a captain you are not sure of starting XI. I am the head coach and I decide the players for each game."
One player now certain of arriving in the new year is United States full-back DeAndre Yedlin - after the club confirmed he will link up with them in January.
Spurs agreed to sign the 21-year-old on a four-year deal in August, but announced at the time that he would remain with the Seattle Sounders for the remainder of the Major League Soccer season.
''We are pleased to confirm that DeAndre Yedlin will be joining the Club in January,'' a statement on the club's website read.
Yedlin ended his MLS stint in fine style, helping the Sounders win the Western Conference title and Supporter's Shield before losing to the Los Angeles Galaxy in the Conference Finals, and big things are expected from him by Pochettino.
''DeAndre is a young player with great potential who has already achieved a lot in Major League Soccer," he said.
''It is important for his development that he is given the time to adapt to his new surroundings both on and off the pitch and we believe that by coming to us in January it will give him the best opportunity to do so.''
Spurs travel to face bottom club Leicester on St Stephen's Day and Pochettino is hopeful of having Ryan Mason available after the midfielder was forced off with a twisted ankle during the win over Burnley.