Selection Headaches For Pochettino – Who Is The Perfect Replacement For The Injured Belgian Star?


Tottenham’s centre-back Toby Alderweireld faces time on the sidelines after he was stretchered off during the draw against West Brom on Saturday. The Belgian is set to miss the crucial midweek Champions League clash against Bayer Leverkusen away from home. He appeared to have suffered a knee discomfort and could be out for a couple of weeks depending on scan results.

In the absence of the man who has been largely responsible for Tottenham’s defensive brilliance this season – which has seen them concede just 4 goals in 8 league games, who should fill the big gap? Eric Dier or Kevin Wimmer?

Dier came on to replace Alderweireld against West Brom and did put up a great performance for his half an hour involvement in the proceedings. If Chadli might not have scored had it been the Belgian had been on the pitch for 90 minutes isn’t the bone of contention here, if Dier was the perfect replacement for him, in the game and for as long as he remains sidelined is.

In 7 league appearances this term, twice as a substitute, Dier has played as a central defender just once. In the 6 others, he has shuttled between being a defensive midfielder and a central midfielder. If there is anything the England international is renowned for, it is his defensive ability. And it’s why he is able to perfectly play as a full back, a centre-half and a defensive midfielder.


His technical intelligence has made him a very important member of the Tottenham and England squad. Dier is also very comfortable on the ball and has recorded an average of 86% pass success this term. He betters Toby Alderweireld’s 83% and also does better in terms of creating chances. Though if he would be able to do so while playing primarily as a defender and having his attacking responsibilities restricted is a big question.

Dier has created 3 chances as opposed to Toby’s 1. He has averaged 3 defensive actions per game, won 45% of his duels, committed a defensive error and gotten into the book once. While there isn’t a basis for comparison between the duo given their different roles, it is still interesting to know Dier’s defensive makeup makes him a capable replacement. Albeit, he might not necessarily be a perfect centre-back to be fielded if the injured defender were to be fit.

On the other hand, another option for the vacant role; Wimmer is yet to make a single appearance in the league this term but did play great backup for Vertonghen last term while the veteran was out injured. Should he be saddled with the responsibility of manning the defense again with Toby the one out this time around?

In 10 league appearances last season, the Austria international averaged 8 defensive actions per game, created 2 chances, won 33% duels on an average, recorded an average pass accuracy of 90% and only committed 1 defensive error. Definitely a good defensive return for the 23-year-old, but Pochettino looks to have found his ideal replacement for Toby Alderweireld in Eric Dier. And the English youngster seems capable of doing a better job than Wimmer. In Tottenham, that is just the way the cookie crumbles.

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