Mauricio Pochettino says Christian Eriksen could start for Tottenham against Manchester City, reiterating contract situations have no effect on his team selections. But is the Spurs boss contradicting himself?
Eriksen, who has just one year left on his contract, began last weekend’s Premier League curtain-raiser against Aston Villa on the bench. His introduction changed the game, helping the hosts come from a goal down to beat the newly-promoted visitors 3-1.
Subsequently there have been calls for Eriksen to start at the Etihad on Saturday. And Pochettino has revealed there is a chance the Dane will be back in the first XI.
“We will see. There are only 11 players who can start,” Pochettino said in his press conference on Friday (via Sky Sports).
“I am happy with the last week with how he is doing, his performance in training (has been good). We still have one training session and I will decide the starting XI.
“No (contract situation does not affect decision). For me it is the same between a player who has one year on his contract and one who has five years, the section is not for the length of the contract it is for the performance.
“After five years you all (media) should know to avoid this question, because you know I will take the decision based only on performance, and not personal situation with the club.
“My point is to help all the players, to support all the players until they decide with the club to go a different way with their career, and to show respect to all. Sometimes it is difficult to understand outside of football or this club that respect means respect.”
If Pochettino is to be taken at his word, Eriksen’s absence from the line-up against Villa was down to his training performance rather than speculation surround his future. Given that Toby Alderweireld – who was a starter last weekend – has also been linked with an exit, perhaps Pochettino is telling the truth.
That said, Alderweireld may have only been in the team because of Jan Vertonghen’s situation. Vertonghen was reportedly left out for fitness reasons, meaning Pochettino may have had no choice but to go with Alderweireld even if the initial plan was to leave the Belgian on the bench with Eriksen.
Alderweireld struggled to break back into the team in 2017/18 after recovering from a hamstring injury, and at the time it was suggested a breakdown in contract negotiations was responsible for his omission.
Pochettino likes to keep his cards close to his chest while preaching the importance of honesty and respect. But is the Argentinian being sincere when it comes to Eriksen? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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