Inside Lane: Why Wimmer should start for Spurs ahead of Vertonghen against Man United

Tottenham blogger David Lee is looking forward to seeing Jan Vertonghen back in the Spurs squad after his knee injury, but he believes Kevin Wimmer should keep his place against Manchester United on Sunday.

When Jan Vertonghen hobbled off against Crystal Palace back in January, wincing with every step, I’ll admit I feared the worst.

To that point, the 28-year-old’s centre-back partnership with his compatriot Toby Alderweireld had been utterly imperious. While the likes of Dele Alli and Harry Kane were rightly stealing the headlines for their match-winning displays, the efforts of our brilliant Belgians were perhaps going unnoticed by fans outside of north London.

The pair had started every Premier League game and it’s no surprise that, with the help of Eric Dier as a protective shield, Spurs boasted the staunchest defence in the league with just 19 goals conceded in 23 games.

Kevin Wimmer’s appearances before Vertonghen’s untimely knee injury had been sparing at best, with five run-outs in the cup competitions offering little indication of his true quality – but he has since proven himself to be a more than able deputy.

Now as we prepare for the visit of a somewhat resurgent Manchester United on Sunday, with our title chances teetering on the brink of destruction, I feel Wimmer has to retain his place in the side.

The impending return of Vertonghen is of course very welcome. But throwing a player into the side when he has been out of action for more than two months, against a forward line containing Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford, is a risk.

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Louis van Gaal’s side have been criticised for their ineffective and tedious build-up play this season. But with Rashford and Martial both possessing the blistering pace and drive to leave players spluttering in their dust, I would prefer us to pick defenders who are fully up to speed. Sunday’s game is so pivotal that one slip or one missed interception could be the difference.

Yes, Wimmer looked unsettled and quite frankly outclassed against the pace and strength of Dortmund’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during our Europa League clashes, but he has proven himself to be dependable and resolute in his Premier League appearances and has surely earned the manager’s trust.

Considering our failure in recent seasons to find a settled central defensive pairing, we now find ourselves in the enviable position of boasting three high- class centre-halves. But, for me, let’s keep the defence settled for one more week at least, and hope the title dream is still alive come 6pm on Sunday.

Follow me on Twitter @David_Lee91