Tottenham Hotspur boss Mauricio Pochettino has revealed that left-back Danny Rose’s omission from his squad ahead of the North London derby was for fitness reasons only, despite transfer talk circulating the defender reigniting over recent weeks.

Since returning from a long lay-off of over over nine months, the Argentine manager has utilised the 27-year-old on three occasions, with starts coming in Spurs’ dramatic 3-2 Carabao Cup defeat to West Ham United and their league victory over Crystal Palace, which both followed a cameo appearance at Real Madrid in the Champions League.

The England international then featured in both November friendlies for his country at Wembley Stadium, playing a part in the duo of goalless draws against Brazil and Germany.

However, even though Rose was fit enough to feature for the Three Lions and three times for Tottenham prior to that, Pochettino believed his left back needed a break as his side went down 2-0 to Arsenal on Saturday.

There was speculation over the summer that Manchester United were showing interest in the pacey English defender, and that has since resurfaced following the Leeds United academy graduate’s return from injury with a fee of £40 million touted.

However, in the fallout of the disappointing defeat at the Emirates Stadium, the 45-year-old Spurs boss insisted the 27-year-old’s exclusion from his squad was simply for fitness reasons only.

“It was a technical decision and after 10 months out – like [Erik] Lamela – they need to build their fitness”, Pochettino told Sky Sports after the full-time whistle, as quoted by Metro.

Reports surfaced following Rose’s comments in the summer surrounding Tottenham’s transfer strategy that the left-back and manager had fallen out, but the Argentine was quick to quash any rumours and stated everything was as it should be.

“Problem? About? No! It’s boring to talk today about a player that is not here, or a situation that is not an issue”, the Spurs boss added.

“We need to speak about the game and what happened in 90 minutes, rather than a player who is training away and trying to get fit.”

Rose may make his comeback to the Spurs squad as they look to secure top spot in their Champions League group when they travel to Borussia Dortmund on Tuesday, with The Mirror suggesting the defender is likely to start the game in Germany.