Belgium manager Roberto Martinez is happy with the way Tottenham are handling Toby Alderweireld’s fitness.
The defender made his long-awaited return from a hamstring injury against Newport County earlier this month – he hadn’t played since November 1st against Real Madrid.
However, Alderweireld was then left out of the matchday squads against Arsenal and Juventus, with Mauricio Pochettino claiming the 28-year-old wasn’t match fit and playing him would have risked his career.
Pochettino’s justification didn’t prevent the media from suggesting Alderweireld’s relationship with his current employers is becoming strained.
Martinez, who has been coach of the Belgium national team since 2016, says he has spoken with Alderweireld about the situation.
“I have recently had a good conversation with Toby Alderweireld,” Martinez old Het Laatste Nieuws. (Quotes via ESPN.)
“I’m happy that Spurs take their time and don’t rush him back. But of course Toby would have liked to have played against Juventus. His situation will need time.”
He added: “Toby has become one of the most consistent defenders in the Premier League.
“It’s normal that his situation draws a lot of attention, certainly when he’s nearing the end of his contract. But I think that he’ll end this season in top shape.”
Pochettino’s decision to leave Alderweireld out of recent squads was proven to be the correct choice on Sunday – Alderweireld struggled against Rochdale and was clearly lacking sharpness.
It will be interesting to see if he is in the squad for this Sunday’s trip to Crystal Palace in the Premier League.
Spurs could do with Alderweireld for the upcoming second leg of their Champions League knockout tie against Juventus, but only if he is ready to play in a high-intensity contest.