Toby Alderweireld has heaped praise on Mauricio Pochettino and denied having a problem with the Argentine during the pair’s time together at Tottenham.
The defender was a central part of the Spurs side during Pochettino’s best spell at the club, forming a memorable centre-back partnership with his countryman Jan Vertonghen.
His form dipped after he suffered a serious hamstring injury in the 2017-18 season, and at the end of the campaign he was heavily linked with a move away from the club.
In an interview with the London Evening Standard, Alderweireld has come out in praise of the impact Pochettino had on his game.
The write-up – by reliable journalist Dan Kilpatrick – suggests Pochettino was willing to sell Alderweireld in the summer of 2018, but the Belgian has denied that there was a disagreement between them.
“Poch is more clever than me,” said Alderweireld. “He saw things that I didn’t see. I thought we had a very good squad.
“Our relationship is very positive. I’m always very grateful that he bought me to Spurs. He was the guy who texted and called me that I had to come, he was the guy who got the best out of me, 100 per cent for sure. I was most fit under him.
“Of course in football if you work four or five days together and you’re a big personality – because I have my thoughts about football as well – you have discussions. And that’s fine.
“But I never had a problem with him. Never ever. I’m grateful because he took me two or three levels up.”
Given Tottenham’s recent defensive performances, it could be argued that the Londoners shouldn’t have sold Alderweireld in the summer.
That said, Cristian Romero and Joe Rodon looked like a promising partnership against NS Mura on Thursday night – perhaps they will keep their spots for Sunday’s Premier League meeting with Aston Villa.