Sunday 21 October 2018

Pochettino reveals latest Alderweireld setback and praises ‘genius’ Dembele

Spurs visit Palace on Sunday lunchtime.

Toby Alderweireld did not complete training on Thursday
Toby Alderweireld did not complete training on Thursday

By Mark Mann-Bryans, Press Association Sport

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino refused to be drawn into discussing the future of defender Toby Alderweireld but said the defender is likely to miss Sunday’s game at Crystal Palace through injury.

The 28-year-old has played only twice since the the turn of the year due to a hamstring problem he sustained in the victory over Real Madrid on November 1.

Pochettino revealed Alderweireld felt discomfort in the same area during training on Thursday and could now be left out of the Premier League trip to Selhurst Park.

“I think it was only Toby (on Thursday) who could not finish the training session,” the Argentinian said.

“He suffered a small incident in the same leg (as the hamstring injury), but we are going to assess him (on Friday and Saturday).

“We will see if he is available for training and if possible be selected for the weekend. We hope it is not a big issue.”

Reports on Friday suggested Spurs were ready to cash in on Alderweireld this summer.

The north London club have the option to extend the former Atletico Madrid defender’s contract by a year, taking it to 2020, but if they do so it would trigger a clause allowing him to leave for a set fee in 2019.

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Mauricio Pochettino, pictured, is not involved in contract talks with Toby Alderweireld

To avoid that, Spurs could instead look to sell, but Pochettino insists he has nothing to do with such matters.

“I am not involved in negotiation,” he said. “I never talk about rumours, what the media say or what happens around the club. It is not my job and I cannot say nothing about that.”

While Alderweireld is likely to miss out at Palace, fellow Belgian Mousa Dembele is expected to retain his place having earned plenty of plaudits for his recent displays.

The midfielder has been at the top of his game, particularly against Juventus in the Champions League, with Pochettino not holding back in his praise of the 30-year-old.

He is one of the unbelievable talents in the history of football. Mauricio Pochettino on Mousa Dembele

“He is one of the unbelievable talents in the history of football,” he said.

“I can only talk about him because I know very well him after nearly four years.

“I told you and then some people use my word to describe him as a genius of the football. For me he is this type of player, I put him next to Ronaldinho, (Diego) Maradona, (Jay-Jay) Okocha – players that I was lucky to play with.

“Of course always for him it was difficult to get fit, he always fights with his fitness. But now he is in an amazing moment and for me he deserves all the praise that people are giving him.”

Press Association

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