For a while we’ve wondered about what happened to Kevin Wimmer. The Austrian center back hasn’t been seen all season and has yet to even make the bench in any of Tottenham’s Premier League games.
This seems to be at odds with his performances for Tottenham last season when he came in relief for an injured Jan Vertonghen and was one of the surprises in Tottenham’s squad. He slotted in without a hitch and Tottenham’s defense did not hit a dip in performance. Now, with Kevin supposedly MIA, fans are getting nervous, thinking that there might be some dressing room drama behind it all.
So what gives? Now Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has said, in a press conference, no less, that Wimmer’s absence isn’t because he’s in the doghouse but because as of right now he rates 18-year old Cameron Carter-Vickers more.
"I believe that Cameron is doing well. If you watch again the games against Atletico Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan, I think that maybe he deserves to play in the starting XI. Because he can give to the team better quality than another player. It's for that," he said.
"All my decisions are because I think a player can give more things than another player.
"It's for that that I picked him on the bench. Kevin is the same. He arrived late in the pre-season, he was injured, remember. He didn't play in Australia and Cameron did very well.
"You can watch the games. And if he deserves to be on the bench, then why not? Because he is young? It's about performance."
If there’s one thing we know about Mauricio Pochettino, it’s this: he doesn’t play favorites. That comes through in his penchant for giving youth players a chance in his first teams. We’re not on the training ground with these guys so we have nothing but Poche’s word to go on here, but this seems pretty definitive.
But Wimmer probably did start at a bit of a disadvantage this season. Not only did he (not) play for Austria in this summer’s Euros, but he came back with a small injury which hindered whatever was left of his preseason. It’s likely that he’s behind the other center backs both in fitness and in match preparation.
We haven’t seen Carter-Vickers in anything other than the two preseason matches in Australia, but we do know Poche rates him highly to the point where Spurs didn’t see the need to purchase another central defender this summer. We may learn more about Poche’s plans for his reserve defenders tomorrow against Sunderland, or more likely on Wednesday in the EFL Cup match against Gillingham. If we are going to see Wimmer or CCV anytime soon, it’s likely to be there.
We know how good Wimmer is already. So maybe this move by Pochettino says more about the ability of Carter-Vickers than it does about Big Kev? That’d be a pretty good problem to have.