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Pochettino puts rumors of Vertonghen issues to rest

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Julian Finney

Mauricio Pochettino didn't make Jan Vertonghen one of his vice captains when fans thought he was a candidate for the armband, and he hasn't used him in league games until the Arsenal match rolled around. This fueled speculation that the Tottenham Hotspur boss might not rate Vertonghen highly, whether for his attitude or other reasons, but he'd like everyone to know that's not true. He said pretty matter of factly that he has no problem with Verts.

"Maybe because I pick players in different games but any problem with Jan, this is wrong. We have a lot of games ahead and need to see and analyse the performance and analyse the situation after the game. Maybe tired, maybe some problem, and after you need to manage. We have a strong squad and this is important."

More likely than not, Vertonghen wasn't quite at full fitness immediately following the World Cup, then Pochettino wanted to get him some minutes alongside new signing Federico Fazio. These are perfectly reasonable explanations for the way the defense has been rotated so far, and there should be further reasonable explanations for whatever team plays in the Europa League on Thursday.

It's nice to hear Pochettino be willing to deny this outright, and hopefully Vertonghen will be first choice in big games going forward.