Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has finally explained Toby Alderweireld’s long-term first-team absence, saying it’s nothing personal.
The Belgian star hasn’t played in the Premier League since October, despite playing for his country during the international break in March.
Alderweireld is out of contract next summer, with a host of clubs tipped to do battle for his signature, with Manchester United thought to be leading the chase.
However, Pochettino has claimed the defender’s absence is nothing personal and has nothing to do with his contract – simply stating he doesn’t warrant a first-team spot at present.
Pochettino said: “I don’t care about the personal situation with the club. If they show me they deserve to play, they are going to play.
“It is not about personal feelings or emotions. It is about providing the team with the best tools to win.
“I cannot consider if they have a one-year contract, six months or ten years.
“My decision is always about football. It is not personal and not because of a contract problem.”
Meanwhile, Pochettino has moved to crush rumours linking him with a move back to Spain.
On his time at Tottenham, Poch claimed: “It is always in my nature to work like you are going to be at the club forever, for your life.
“That is the commitment with the club, and to understand what the club expects from you, and try to deliver it for the club. That is our job.
“Every season I think we improve. I think Tottenham is an exciting project, present and future.”
Tottenham travel to Stoke on Saturday in the Premier League, aiming to close the gap on United and Liverpool in the table.
Spurs are currently fourth with 64 points, two points behind the Reds and four behind Jose Mourinho’s men.