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Key Tottenham superstar faces a race against time to be fit for Juventus clash on March 7

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Jan Vertonghen
Jan Vertonghen

Jan Vertonghen faces a race against time to attain full fitness for Tottenham Hotspur’s Champions League round of 16 second-leg tie against Juventus at Wembley next month.

The defender suffered an ankle injury during training, ahead of last weekend’s Premier League game against Crystal Palace, and was subsequently omitted from the teamsheet for an early kick-off at Selhurst Park. Before missing the game against Palace due to injury, the 30-year-old had not missed a single top-flight fixture in the 2017-18 season.

Manager Mauricio Pochettino explained to reporters that Vertonghen’s absence was caused by a robust blow to his ankle on the training pitch on Saturday.

“We are awaiting the results of the scan but Jan suffered a heavy blow to the ankle,” Pochettino was quoted by Calciomercato.

“We were hoping that he could have been fit to face Palace but it was clear that he was unable to join the rest of the squad. We are now just hoping that it is nothing too serious.”

While Vertonghen and his Belgian compatriot Toby Alderweireld missed the game at Palace, Eric Dier was asked to start alongside Davinson Sanchez in central defence. Dier and Sanchez kept the flying Eagles at bay as a late header from Harry Kane saw Spurs grind out an important 1-0 victory to keep their top four hopes alive this season.

Vertonghen’s injury is a massive setback for us as he has been one of the most consistent performers for our club for the last couple of years. The Belgian has been a rock at the back and alongside Alderweireld, has forged a fantastic partnership in defence.

The centre-back has been a mainstay under Pochettino and our manager would be hoping to get the player fully fit and running before the riveting battle at Wembley on March 7 against Juventus.

The first leg at Turin witnessed Spurs come from 2-0 down to draw the game 2-2. Even if we manage to keep the scoreline 0-0 at Wembley, we would go through to the next round. However, we just cannot be complacent against the Italian powerhouse and our defence would definitely need the presence of Vertonghen and Alderweireld next month.

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