Tottenham Hotspur might have obliterated Tony Pulis and West Bromwich Albion 4-0 today at White Hart Lane, but the match wasn’t entirely sunshine and roses. Jan Vertonghen looked to have rolled his ankle in the second half by the sidelines and was substituted off for Ben Davies.
The injury looked nasty in real time, and Vertonghen appeared to be absolutely distraught as he came off the pitch, which is bad news for him and for Tottenham. After the match, manager Mauricio Pochettino gave a quick update on Super Jan, and it didn’t sound good.
Poch: "It looks bad for Jan. We need to wait to assess him. He is very disappointed." Fortunate to have excellent deputy in Wimmer #thfc— Lyall Thomas (@SkySportsLyall) January 14, 2017
Now, it’s important to note that this is also more or less what Poch said about Toby Alderweireld after he injured his knee, also against West Brom, back in October. That situation is a little different in that despite an initially good prognosis Toby still missed significant time with nerve damage, as opposed to actual knee ligament damage. The point is that we need to wait for Spurs’ physios to evaluate Jan before we draw any conclusions.
That said, while Vertonghen has been in fantastic form for Spurs this season, he also has a very capable backup in Kevin Wimmer, who is his natural replacement. It’s not at all difficult to envision Wimmer slotting in more or less seamlessly for Jan in Spurs’ 3-4-3 formation going forward.
The other option is what we saw today: Ben Davies can also come in and play as the LCB in a back three. We saw him excel in this position this summer for Wales in the Euros and he would be a fine choice, though Poch may want to keep him in reserve as he is also Danny Rose’s primary backup and rotation option at left back.
Either way, next week will be a stiff test for whoever comes in as Spurs travel to the Etihad Stadium to play a very good Manchester City team.
We will without a doubt learn more about Jan’s injury in due time. For now, let’s not panic: Spurs have capable replacements for him and his absence may be more or less mitigated.