Many question marks were posed when Jan Vertonghen was confirmed as Tottenham Hotspur’s left wing-back against the destructive Borussia Dortmund.
Indeed, many Spurs fans would have feared Dortmund and Sancho would thrive on Vertonghen’s weak mobility on the flank, with both Danny Rose and Ben Davies ruled out.
Well, big Jan had other plans.
The Belgian defender produced a masterclass, flooring Dortmund with his excellent work on both halves of the field and proved how experience prevails over youthful exuberance. He kept England international Sancho at bay throughout, not allowing the dazzling winger to get a proper swipe at goal.
While Vertonghen was given enough protection by Spurs’ solid three-man backline on the day, his work-rate was exemplary. Not only did he track back to keep BVB at bay, but he also kept on attacking to prove his ability up front. Given freedom by Mauricio Pochettino, he juggled forward and created multiple opportunities with his crosses.
Vertonghen’s persistence would pay off in the 47th minute when his pressing helped win back the ball and he put in an inch-perfect cross for Son Heung-Min to tap in. However, he wasn’t done then. The big Belgian kept on galloping forward and had few swipes at goal, before he showed instincts of a striker, latching onto Serge Aurier’s cross before finishing smartly.
With a complete performance which not only had a goal and assist, but seven ball recoveries, four interceptions and 86% passing accuracy (stats via WhoScored), Vertonghen extinguished many myths surrounding any kind of suggestion he’s on the wane.
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