Jan Vertonghen has rapidly become a fans favourite and an early contender for player of the season at White Hart Lane. One of the major factors that has impressed us is the Belgian’s ability to slot in so comfortably in central defence and then at left back in the absence of Benoit Assou-Ekotto.

The transition was so smooth that many are suggesting a permanent switch to the left side of defence as Jan’s best position. Here’s what John Cross said in the Mirror.

“The other one that’s caught my eye is Vertonghen. For me, you absolutely have to play him at left-back now because you shore up that left side as he’s a quality defender – strong in the tackle, ferocious, tenacious – yet he’s powerful going forward. If he’s played there week in, week out – even with Gareth Bale, who loves to attack, in front of him – he can be the best left-back in the Premier League.”

BAE is a player who inspires a mixed reaction on here and for many years he has had no challenger to his position in the side. Under the old regime, Benny would have been almost certain to come straight back into the team but should AVB play Vertonghen there instead? Another aspect to consider is whether we have enough options in the centre but with Steven Caulker looking impressive, the answer to that is probably yes.




  1. Garbage article. Vertonghen is a good stand-in LB because he is a big strong lad who is decent on the ball, but his physique is best suited to playing as a centre-back, not a full-back. Nani really didn’t have to work very hard to get his cross in against him, Jan doesn’t have the pace, guile or the dribbling of BAE who normally handles Nani pretty well. It’s exactly the same with Vermaelen at Arsenal, he can do a job at LB but he will never be as good as a specialist.

    • He is considered to be Belgiums’s best defender by a large number of Belgian fans. He is a wonderful player. There is much debate as to what is his best position, he plays mostly as a left back or as a defensive midfielder for the national team so is this article garbage? really?

  2. BAE has been Spurs’ most consistent and possibly best defender (alongside Kaboul) for the past two seasons. He’s one of those players MOTD love to hate but watch him 90 mins each week and you se how much Spurs rely on him.

    • And when you watch him for 90mins live you see he makes 5 or 6 mistakes every game. What’s annoying is that he does know what to do as for 20-25 mins sometimes he’s fine. He can’t be bothered concentrating and takes short cuts.

      • Rubbish. Any player who makes five or six mistakes per game would be on the bench and then in the reserves in short order.

        This is the usual refrain we hear from people who don’t think that Benny is all that good.

        He does make an ocassional mistake, it’s true, but so does every player. Show me a player who is flawless and I’ll show you a game of FIFA.

        • A lot of the mistakes he does make is because usually tries to play the ball out of the back rather than kick it up field. Sure, occasionally it doesn’t work and the other team wins the ball deep but the alternative is just giving the ball back to the other team with every clearance. I know which I’d rather have…

          Default should be:
          BAE Vertonghen Kaboul Walker
          We have depth at CB and a manager who’s been good with rotation.

  3. Completely disagree, he was consistently exposed down that side in the second half against Utd and lack the acceleration over a short distance to be able to stop crosses coming in that BAE or Naughton would be able to stop. Going to be a great CB but not enough of a natural LB to play there in a league that play with pacey wingers that try to get to the by-line.

  4. Really baffles me that our Spurs fan really rate BAE. Am I the only one that sees him as a liability. Am sorry but the guy has a mistake in him and always likely to make a mistake that results in a goal. He is one of those players if under pressure the first thing he does is that lofted ball down the line. More often than not, we then lose possession. I remember a few seasons ago when we played RM in the Champs league at home and he gave one of the most inept performances I have sver seen in Tottenham shirt. Every other ball he basically gave away. To my astonishment , the next day there was some article from a fellow supporter claiming he was the best LB back in the league etc.. He is a solid player, no more and If Vertonghen proves himself there would rather him than BAE..But hey thats my opinion but really not a fan of the guy!

    • Hey Dee..

      You are obviously entitled to your opinion. But can I ask how often you watch a full 90 mins of spurs games (you may be a season ticket holder as far as I know) or do you mostly watch MOTD?

      He can sometimes he a little erratic. But other times he is quality and if you watch over the course of a full 90 mins, every game over the whole season, I wouldn’t say he makes a huge amount of mistakes (he’s no Hutton anyway).

      One thing I found noticable 2nd half against Utd was how much of a problem we had being able to play out from defence, something that BAE is sometimes sublime at, often from very subtle movements on the ball, buying himself a second, to be able to find a man. This was a massive part of our game last year keeping the ball in triangles, between him Modric and Bale (and VdV).

      • Matt – not sure the point you are arguing there – if you think he is “sometimes erratic but other times quality”, then you seem to agree with Dee that he “has a mistake in him”.

        For my part, I agree with both those statements. He is a great Left back on his day, when the risks he takes come off – when they dont, we are in the sh!t! I go to a lot of games and have see that all too often. We cheer whenever he makes someone look stupid, but he does get caught out by more astute opponents and often makes a bizarre decision to hoist a ball vertically with no consideration for where it is going to drop. I wouldnt want Jan at Left Back permanently as he is too good at CB, but its nice to know you have the option – much like Kaboul at Right Back.

        • I am a spurs season ticket holder and have been going to Spurs for the last 15 years. he is the best left back Spurs have had in that time. Tarrico, Lee, Edman etc etc were all standard players. BAE has made that position his own and for the last three seasons has been one of our most consistent defenders who rarely missed a game. I would put him as the fourth best left back in the league behind Cole, Evra and Baines. His has been injured a few games and Vertonghen has played there twice. Only plays there for Belgium because of two of the best premier league centre backs already in his position. BAE has played almost every game in the last three years where we finished 4th 5th 4th and had a good run in the CL. Agreed sometimes he does look to the punt down the line. My back four would be Walker Vertonghen Kaboul and BAE with Naughton and Caulker as cover.

        • I see both points .. BAE can sometimes dig himself out of huge problems and passing his way out of trouble .. or zooming up a wing. Often he does totally unexpected things like scoring and occasionally things go wrong. He is a quality player that can have an off day at times as can most players.
          However when BAE is back I would keep him at LB because Vertonghen shores up the middle and I for one would love to see him, Caulker and Kaboom rotating through the center. We have never had this quality kind of cover for the center ( Ledders last year, Nelson ?) and will make a huge difference at the end of the season.

    • Agree. He’s the reason we lost to Man City 3-2 last season. If you remember he was sheparding the ball out of play 10secs before they got their pen and the Man City players were getting in position for the throw-in. Then he decides to lump it to Defoe instead who inevitably loses out in the air, the ball is pumped forward and Balotelli ends up getting a pen. And he does this sort of thing all the time. We need to get rid asap. But need a specialist left back not Jan, who needs to be our main man centre half.

      • And how do you account for Balotelli still being on the pitch after stamping on Scott Parker? I suppose the ref not sending Balotelli off was one of the five or six mistakes Benny made in that match too? Would they have got a penalty when down to ten men?

        And I suppose Defoe being three inches too slow to connect to Bale’s cross was also one of those five or six mistakes, yes?

      • im sorry but thats crazy blaming him for that goal. defenders blast the ball out all the time in any game you watch. perhaps the whole team should have defended that better. bae is one of the best, most relaxed and calm on the ball left backs who can turn defence into attack with a quick change of direction. we need this for the pacey counter attacking style of football tottenham play

      • “He’s the reason we lost to Man City” and “But need a specialist left back not Jan” – comments like this make me laugh. I admit, Benny makes mistakes but is quality for the main part.

        What tickles me most is people who have this oppinion cannot identify a realistic option that is THAT much better to replace him.

        Who are the contenders?

        Evra? possible best left back but play for Utd, so no.

        Cole? same as Evra, plays for Chelski, so no.

        Baines? Good player going forward, suspect defending, as shown at WHL last season. Would cost a massive sum of money and honestly, if he is better than BAE, is he worth breaking the bank over? Would he even want to come to Spurs? He’s a massive Everton fan and they’re doing well.

        Realistically, who else is there????

        I think fans have to accept that if he was as bad as they say he wouldn’t have lasted at our club for so long.

        Another point, why does Walker not come in for as much stick? He makes more mistakes than Benny!! I rate them both so I’m not picking on Kyle but fans who dislike BAE are clearly blinkered when it come to Kyle Walker too as he gets no stick at all. Walker was awful on Saturday – I was at Old Trafford and was pretty shocked at his performance at times.

        Vertonghen is not a left back. He is a centre half who can play at left back, not the other way around. He is a good back up option there but nothing more. Plus, if you listen to his interviews about playing left back, he clearly wants to play in his natural position of centre half.

        Last point, Bale has been in his best form over the last 4 years playing in front of which player?

  5. Not sure. Think we have enough good centre halfs to allow us to play him as first choice LB. He may want that as well as he can’t get a game for Belgium at cb. I am one of the fans who rates Benny highly & appreciates how he has performed last few years. Having said that, jan will be much more reliable as Benny has a mistake in him.

    • He plays at LB for Belgium because they don’t have a natural LB, but they do have cover at CB.
      Neither Company or that other bloke can play at LB, so Jan has to do it.
      As he has stated on more than one occasion though, he prefers playing CB.

  6. As awesome as Vertonghen is going forward at left-back. He’s a bit suspect defensively on that position due to not being very quick. Against a pacy-winger like Nani, that’s a problem. In the second half against United you could see that Jan was struggling a bit with Nani. He’s better in the centre of defence and in midfield, he’s good cover for left-back, but playing there permanently isn’t an option.

  7. Hi guys. Listen Jan v is quality. However, lets not get carried away with him as a left back. I see the merit in it as he is superb getting forward, but as a defender this idea that he shores up the left side is nonsense. Benoit is a tremendous full back, particularly one on one, he is rarely beaten and although he has the odd lapse I never feel going into a game that the oppos right winger will get the better of him. Contrast that to Jan who, despite his many strengths, was beaten fairly comfortably on at least 3 occasions by nani at the weekend. When you are as good as he is at centre half you don’t move him to left back just because he offers a threat going forward, unless you have an equally good, or better option at centre half. Which brings me to my next point. What is tha caulker hype, madness. I can’t believe the love he got for his performance at OT. The guy is tremendous in the air but aside from that he is a young defender learning his trade. He switches off when people run past him, he is uncomfortable and hesitant when he isn’t man marking (see his gormless standing around in no mans land for Kagawa’s goal), and he doesn’t deal with situations like quality centre halves. Lets not forget that aside from Ledley being a measure of calm and cool in the way he plays the game, his biggest strength that made him the very best was that when the ball was in the box an needed to be dealt with it was safety first. He read it and dealt with it. Listen caulker may get there and I will love it if he does, but he cannot be considered the answer, he has a long long way to go. Walker Kaboul jan and bae is our best back four without question.

  8. People say BAE make mistakes but Walker has made far more errors this season alone than I remember BAE making last season, yet nobody calls him a liability. BAE is often thought of as a ‘always gives a pen away’ type but we gave just one away last season, and that was King’s doing. Most of the time where BAE gets caught out (as happens to every defender on earth) he isn’t helped by Bale farting off out of position.

    • Point exactly… BAE does have a mistake in him, but so do most attacking full backs… In comparison I think he’s improved that side of his game hugely. Kyle’s made more this season that BAE all last year.

      I can’t name many who I would replace him with – Errr… Evra, A.Cole, maybe Clichy errmmm, possibly Baines – although not totally sure he’s better, he’ll always look good at a Solid Everton, but would he stand out at Utd?

  9. Whatever way you look at it, Benny is a excellent footballer, However, he is not a good defender. Out of position to often and always has a mistake in him. I like him, but he is not a brilliant left back. Matt, I have not missed a Spurs game for a very long time. And his positional sense is poor. He pace and strength gets him out of trouble a lot.

  10. All those things can be said about Walker. If you look at the stats from last season BAE was well up there with Baines, Cole, etc. Every full-back in an attacking side has to rely on their pace to get themselves out of trouble sometimes, if they weren’t expected to join in the attack then they would never be out of position in the first place. BAE made no more errors last season than any other attacking full-back.

  11. I think we can all agree that for the first time in quite a few years it’s a real relief to have a great cover at left back if we need it. And with Caulker, Gallas and Kaboul to cover the centre back roles, we can really start to solidify our back four as one of the best in the league! (Just got to get Walker to stay awake for 90 mins).

  12. The last two times I have seen him play for Belgium he has played left back. How can we be sure that is not his favourite position?

    He is very good going forward and looks to be a genuine goal threat. If he stays at centre back we limit his opportunities to maraud…

  13. I would play him over BAE every time , you would never see Bennie running 50 yards the way Van did against ManUtd and scoring, he also gives you a stronger defence from set pieces, with Bennie i am always waiting for the next clanger to happen when he has another of his off days.

  14. BAE is just like Gomes…..when good, very good, but too likely to have a mare for me…..he is far too one footed, and I’m bemused why he is a Spurs fans favourite

  15. As a full back, the first thing you’re expected to do is stop wingers getting the better of you and getting crosses in. If you look closely on numerous occasions, when teams switch play to the right winger, it takes BAE half a decade to get to the winger. By this time he has either cut inside or got his cross in. Sturridge’s goal for Chelsea in the 1-1 home game last year, BAE is clearly looking at him but where was the urgency to get back goalside and prevent it. Too many time his positioning is suspect and the problem to most of the goals we concede. What other full back would get away from their manager for doing cryuff turns inside their own box? The only reason he ‘has made the position his own’ in the last few years is because Harry saw it as a safe option. He would never try something different to eradicate the obvious problem. AVB has seen it straight away and Naughton showed v Reading just want a safer option he would be. The boy can defend, keeps the ball better and has just as much pace and strength.

    For me, whatever money we have in Jan should be spent on a top class left back. Germany or Holland must have someone coming through. Failing that Naughton must be given a run at LB and that will prove to be just a good as option as BAE (is it a coincidence that we have gone on this unbeaten run ever since he’s been out the team??)

    • Jan needs to be play CB and BAE is one of the top LB in today’s game. He’s not perfect but provides exelleny play for the most part. I think he has been a lot more consistent in recent times and I honestly don’t understand why he is consistently criticized by some fans. I’m much more worried about the form of our RB at the moment.

  16. So most agree BAE loves the lofted ball down the line which invariably leads to us losing possession. In addition, if put under pressure by a clever or physically stronger opponents he can be found wanting. So this is the point I am trying to make..To consistently make top 4 or higher we cant afford to do give possesion away cheaply, would the aimless lofted ball be tolerated at say Chelsea or Manu or Arsenal..Would they tolerate possession to be given away so cheaply(I like Dawson but dont get me started with him!!). Possession is key..I just get infuriated when I see things like that and players like Walker,BAE and Dawson am sorry to say for me can be careless in possession. We will never make the lofty hights we crave If these kind of issues are not ironed out. COYS!!

  17. Matt, couldn’t agree more. Everyone is entitled to their opinions, but watch the whole 90 mins. MOTD is a disgrace. When was the last time anyone saw any actual analysis on it? BAE is quality. He switches off, occasionally. But, he also gets caught when Bale goes elsewhere. And if you’d watched us for the last few seasons you’d realise that a huge number of our attacks actually started with Benny. As for lumping it down the line, the only reason he has had to resort to that is one Bale goes wandering out of the stadium to sign autographs for himself. And that (along with an infinite list of other things) is Redknapp’s fault. Bale looks to be getting back to it (as a result of AVB actually coaching him) and BAE will slot back in.

  18. Benny really is defensively poor and a weak link in the team and it would be great to have Verts playing there, but he is also a quality CB and one of his strengths is his distribution from the back which would be somewhat restricted playing on the left.
    It’s a tough call but we could certainly do with a left back upgrade to Benny

  19. BAE IS VERY CONSISTENT !..But he sometimes loses concentration ( Chris Perry was famous for doing so)..Walker has gone walkabout THIS season, and MUST learn to be aware of his opponent at ALL times, esp in the AIR !! IT IS COMING TOGETHER NICELY< BUT VERY SLOWLY…….Have Patience, IT WILL HAPPEN….A SPURS FAN FOR OVER 50 YEARS……

  20. Benny is cool, buy Vert is sexy.
    It’s a tough choice.

    However I think the issue comes from the CB position when Caulker and Kabul are fully fit. Who do you leave out? Do you rotate?

    Personally I think Walker, Kabul, Caulker, Vert should be the way to go.

  21. Vertongen was fouind out in the second half last weekend. So against stronger teams may not be a good option. But against weaker teams when we domintae play he probably would be fine. And Leading candidate for Player of the season in October. What bull.

  22. Even though he’s great at left back he made it clear when he came that he was coming here to play centre back and given he’s our best defender you don’t want to piss him off by playing him out of position

  23. Crap article but it’s got us all talking!! He should play in the middle of defence, it’s great to have someone who can play out there if BAE is not fit, having a mare or you want to change things in a game but Verthongen made similar attacking runs from the centre back position when he was at Ajax. Playing him at CB won’t restrict his game too much. He’s just a top defender who can play, like King was only with two decent knees and more pace!! He has the better physique and defensive qualities to play CB not LB but nice to know he can…

  24. We are blessed if we’re looking to squeeze Jan out left to accommodate our other center-backs – all while Kaboul and BAE are injured. I rate them all. BAE is ‘Spurs all over’. Entertaining, quick, strong, brave. Jan can play footie wherever you put him. Ignore his posture, his odd first touch, often unbalanced… he’s just the same in the center. Bizarre but a quality world-class player none-the-less, wherever you put him. We need, and have, quality cover. No need to slate our own players during comparisons. We have a non-judgmental rotater in charge rather than the Deadcrap excluder from the not-so-distant past. They all offer something.

  25. If Vert was in Dawson’s place last night..we would have won 1-0. QED. BAE knows Bale and dig himself out much better than Vert.


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