Spurs defender Vertonghen denies fitness concerns
PUBLISHED: 08:00 03 September 2019
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Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen denied being left out of the starting line-up due to fitness concerns in their opening three Premier League fixtures.
The Belgian centre-back was not even named on the bench for the opening day match against Aston Villa then watched from the bench for the draw with Manchester City and the defeat at home to Newcastle United.
But the 32-year-old was recalled on Sunday for Spurs 2-2 draw with north London rivals Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium.
Vertonghen is out of contract in the summer and speculation was building around whether that was the reason he was dropped but he denied those claims.
"No, no, no - I came back fit. I played in every pre-season game and I didn't miss a [training] session," Vertonghen said.
"Like the manager explained before the first game against Villa, it was a tactical decision and I respect that decision.
"We players have to accept his decisions. I'm very, very happy to be back."
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The experienced defender revealed being dropped has fuelled his desire to get back out on the pitch and do his best for Spurs.
"No. I just want to focus on football now.
"When you don't play, you realise how important it is and it's extremely important for me. I've been so long with the guys, I love the club and I just want to play as much as I can.
"I feel great and I just want to help the club to win trophies."
Vertonghen will now head off on International break to play for Belgium in their Euro 2020 qualifiers against San Marino and Scotland but insisted the break isn't needed in terms of Spurs as they want to start getting into a rhythm.
"I don't feel like we need the (international) break.
"We love to play football together and I think everyone can't wait for two games a week to get back in that good feeling.
"With Tottenham I prefer to play every three or four days."
Spurs will be in full swing after the international break with cup competitions and the Champions League set to start.