Since the release of the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year shortlists earlier this week, there's been an angry murmur going around the Tottenhamverse about the omission of Toby Alderweireld.
Spurs' Harry Kane was a Player of the Year finalist, along with Leicester's Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez, and N'Golo Kante, West Ham's Dimitri Payet, and Arsenal's Mesut Özil. But a lot of Spurs fans are miffed that Alderwiereld didn't make the cut, despite anchoring Tottenham's back line which has conceded a EPL-lowest 25 goals this season.
Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino was asked about that in a press conference ahead of Spurs' trip to the Brittania Stadium to take on Stoke, and while the Argentine didn't come out and say that Toby should've made the list, he did strongly imply the importance that the Belgian has had to Spurs' defense this season.
"Football is to score goals," Pochettino said. "But for us like a manager it is very important for me the keeper and defensive line are in the same level of importance of player.
"I cannot do anything about this because I am not involved in the selection of the players. There is no defensive player on the list and I have nothing to say but I am happy with him.
"His performances have been fantastic from beginning of the season and he doesn't need to be recognised to feel that."
Very democratically put, Mauricio.
Player of the Year lists are incredibly biased towards players that produce offensive stats, and that's not just true for soccer but for most sports. Part of that is due to the fact that players that score goals are super exciting to watch, and part of it is that there really aren't very good statistics for defensive players in the Premier League. The last defender to win the PFA Player of the Year was John Terry in 2005.
So it's not surprising that Toby was omitted from the PFA shortlist, though to some it still feels like a slap in the face for a player who has been, arguably, the best defender in the Premier League.
That's okay, though: Toby doesn't need a trophy to understand his worth to this Tottenham side. He knows it, Poche knows it, we know it. And so do Tottenham's opponents.