Mauricio Pochettino not concerned about Toby Alderweireld

Eric Dier expected to fill in at centre-half for Tottenham against Bayer Leverkusen

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photograph: AP.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Photograph: AP.

 

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Group E

Bayer Leverkusen v Tottenham Hotspur

BayArena, Tuesday, 7.45pm

Live on TV3 and BT Sport 2

Mauricio Pochettino is confident that Toby Alderweireld’s knee injury is “not a big issue” and the Tottenham Hotspur manager even suggested the defender could be back in contention for selection next week.

Pochettino is expected to replace Alderweireld with Eric Dier in the middle of his back four against Bayer Leverkusen. But he offered an upbeat bulletin on the Belgian, who hurt himself on Saturday during the 1-1 Premier League draw at West Brom after taking an accidental kick from his central defensive partner, Jan Vertonghen, after a corner.

Extremely painful

“We need to wait for the scan but we believe it’s not a big issue,” Pochettino said. “He got a knock on his leg but it was better yesterday and today. In the moment he went down, it was tough and, from our position, it was difficult to see what had happened. But it wasn’t a big issue. It was a big knock, a heavy knock in his leg, but we hope it’s not a big problem for the next week.”

Defensive midfielder

Victor Wanyama

Kevin Wimmer, who stepped into the centre of defence last season when Vertonghen was injured, will be bitterly disappointed if Pochettino does prefer Dier. Wimmer has made only one appearance for Tottenham this season – in the League Cup win against Gillingham. But Pochettino, who indicated that a game of this magnitude would come too soon for the 18-year-old centre-half Cameron Carter-Vickers, said that he had faith in Dier. “The important thing is we trust in him,” Pochettino said. “It’s not important the position he will play. Midfield, centre-back or full-back – we believe and trust in him. We trust him as a person and his skills. For me, Eric is a player who can develop his game in different positions.”

Pochettino continues to be without striker Harry Kane because of ankle ligament injury.

Guardian service

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