No Alderweireld: Centre Back Options For Spurs

Toby Alderweireld suffered a potentially serious injury in Spurs’ 1-1 draw at West Brom on Saturday. Whilst there is still hope that he not spend too long on the sidelines, we look at the most likely options to replace the Belgian for upcoming games. Beginning with the Champions League clash against Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday night

Cameron Carter-Vickers
The young American appeared to have overtaken Kevin Wimmer in the central defensive pecking order at the start of the season. Carter-Vickers was on the substitutes bench during the first portion of Premier League games, and put in a strong showing during his first start for the side, the 5-0 defeat of Gillingham in the League Cup. Played the full 90 in that match, and seems more likely to start during the same competition when Spurs take on Liverpool on October 25.

Mauricio Pochettino has already stated that a demanding schedule necessitates the need to rotate during the next three weeks. Given that is high on his agenda, Carter-Vickers will no doubt get some opportunities to shine. Whether that is more than just the League Cup remains to be seen.

Ben Davies
Davies played arguably one of his best games in a Spurs shirt on Saturday at The Hawthorns. If not for the brilliance of West Brom ‘keeper Ben Foster, he could well have opened his goal scoring tally with a lovely first half left-footed strike from outside the box. Davies displayed a renewed confidence in his own ability; a run of games in the side during Danny Rose’s injury layoff appears to have helped in this regard.

With Rose having now returned to full fitness, there is some chance Davies could be utilised in the heart of defence. His defensive qualities are first class, the only aspect that may count against such a scenario is once again the need for rotation. If Davies is used at centre back then Rose is placed under more pressure to back up game after game. This may only be an emergency option if another injury strikes.

Kevin Wimmer
So composed and assured was Wimmer during Jan Vertonghen’s injury absence in 2015/16 that it is astonishing he has only made one appearance for Spurs this campaign. A minor injury setback hampered his preparation for the new season, and despite initially falling behind Carter-Vickers, has made some strides and bench appearances of late.

The Austrian has made some subtle claims to the press of dissatisfaction with his playing time. He should now be given an opportunity to start in either or both of the Premier League or Champions League, and seems a certainty to at least appear in three or four of Tottenham’s upcoming games. This could be a defining period as to his future at the club; seems too good a player to warm the bench and some strong performances could see rival clubs circling during the January transfer window.

Eric Dier
The only defender on the subs bench at The Hawthorns and the direct replacement following Alderweireld’s injury. Dier is perhaps not in the best form of his still fledgling career, but is the obvious choice to take over at centre back. With Victor Wanyama making the defensive midfield position his own, Dier could be given an extended run at centre back in combination with Vertonghen. May also be needed to give Wanyama a break, so this complicates matters slightly.

It seems likely that all four options will be required at various stages, possibly with the exception of Davies. What does become apparent is that Pochettino will need to be clever and rotate the main three alternatives to Alderweireld; Carter-Vickers, Dier and Wimmer. Not to mention the need to rest Vertonghen at some stage too. Alderweireld leaves such a gaping hole in the Tottenham line-up since he is so assured and experienced, and is  irreplaceable in terms of his ability. Yet Spurs do have options, and it will be interesting to see how these options are used in the coming weeks.

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