Former Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Paul Robinson was left bemused by Mauricio Pochettino’s decision to remove Toby Alderweireld from the starting XI in their weekend draw with Sheffield United.
He said: “I just don’t understand why Alderweireld was left on the bench.
“Because when a team press you that high, someone with his passing range who can play long balls, it gives the team you’re playing against something else to think about.
“As soon as he plays a range of diagonal passes, the other team drop off which gives you the space needed.”
Whether or not Alderweireld’s ability to pick out a pass from distance would have turned out to be what Spurs were missing, Robinson did highlight a key attribute of the centre-back’s game.
Last season, Alderweireld made an average of 7.1 accurate long balls per game – the most in the Tottenham squad during the 2018/19 Premier League campaign.
On the other hand, only goalkeepers ranked higher for inaccurate long passes, though the defender was in a league of his own compared to his outfield colleagues – while the likes of Kieran Trippier and Jan Vertonghen were not too far off in terms of errors.
However, it suggests that not many could offer what Alderweireld can in that regard, and with Robinson an experienced man at the back himself, perhaps his comments point towards a potential oversight from Pochettino with his squad selection, given the opposition.
In fairness to Pochettino, the team’s poor form may have prompted him to try something new at the back (with just one league clean sheet so far this season), so while Robinson may have had a point, Pochettino may not be totally to blame as Spurs dropped points yet again.
Will this be Mauricio Pochettino's last season at Tottenham?
Spurs fans, should Alderweireld have started at the weekend? Let us know your thoughts below!
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