Belgium News: Martinez hails important Alderweireld

10 months ago

In the latest Belgium news, coach Roberto Martinez has spoken of the importance of Toby Alderweireld but admits his lack of game time with Tottenham is a concern.

The central defender has only featured 11 times in the Premier League for Spurs in 2018-19 due to injuries and an ongoing dispute over a new contract.

Alderweireld is set to be out of contract at the end of next season and is currently involved in a stand-off over his wages, which has led to him being left on the sidelines by manager Mauricio Pochettino.

The 29-year-old was a regular in his first two seasons with the north London side, having joined from Southampton ahead of the 2015-16 campaign, and he went on to make 38 and 30 appearances respectively.

However, he has made just one Premier League appearance in 2018 and Martinez admits that it is a concern as the World Cup in Russia draws ever closer.

The talented stopper is still in line to win a spot in Martinez’s final squad but the former Everton boss fears his relationship with compatriot and Spurs team mate Jan Vertonghen may have suffered.

“Obviously it’s been a concern, because Toby has been Mr Consistency in the last few seasons,” Martinez told Talksport.

“Remember, he had a great partnership with Jan Vertonghen. They started together at Ajax, they developed at a very young age and ended up playing in the Premier League together. That gives you a knowhow that has been reflected in their performances.

“With Toby, he had a difficult injury at the beginning of the season.But when he’s been with the national team he has been really important in our performances.

“In the last few years he has been at a very, very good level. Now it’s just (about) trying to see that he can get back to the best level and then being able to get that match fitness that he’s missing because of the lack of games.”

Belgium, who are priced at 11/1 to win the 2018 World Cup with bet365, kick off their campaign against minnows Panama on June 18.