Belgium released its 23-man squad to play in its upcoming friendly vs. Saudi Arabia during next week’s international break, and manager Roberto Martinez has named three Tottenham Hotspur players to his Red Devils roster: Jan Vertonghen, Mousa Dembele, and Toby Alderweireld.
@JanVertonghen, @mousadembele and @AlderweireldTob have been called up to the latest @BelRedDevils squad pic.twitter.com/dbQCuQ2eo9— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) March 16, 2018
When I first saw this news, I was a little bit shocked and dismayed. After all, Toby only returned to full training at Tottenham this week! What in the world is Martinez doing calling him up, we don’t want to aggravate Toby’s injury again!
However, the more I think on this, the more I wonder if this isn’t a low-key positive sign for Spurs. I can’t imagine that Martinez would call Alderweireld up for a meaningless international friendly next week without first talking to Mauricio Pochettino and getting assurances from Toby’s club manager that he’s ready for minutes.
Pochettino has already hinted that Toby might — might — be ready to play on Saturday in the FA Cup against Swansea. If Poch thinks that he’s close to a return to match action, it serves to reason that he feels that some decent international minutes in an international match might be a good thing for Toby’s overall fitness. And if that’s true, then it means that Toby could ironically return from international break in better shape than when he left. That’d be good news considering Spurs head to Stamford Bridge to play Chelsea without Harry Kane on April 1, and it puts the possibility of a back three into play against the Blues.
So let’s see how things shake out. If the end result is a Toby Alderweireld who is back from injury and ready to contribute for Tottenham’s first team again, it might just mark the first time ever that an international break has accomplished something demonstrably good for a Tottenham player’s club career.