Tottenham shouldn’t start 28-year-old next week, despite Pochettino’s comments

Tottenham Hotspur fans have received good news from manager Mauricio Pochettino, with Toby Alderweireld potentially set for a first-team return against Newport County in the FA Cup next weekend.

The Belgium international pulled his hamstring in last year’s 3-1 Champions League win over Real Madrid and he has been on the sidelines for the last few months.

Tottenham have missed Alderweireld during his time on the treatment table, with Pochettino reverting to a back four in the 28-year-old’s absence.

However, the Spurs centre-half is set to be reintegrated into the first-team training ranks soon and the Lilywhites manager has admitted that he could feature in the FA Cup next weekend.

“Today he has the last scan and if all goes well, that’s the plan, to do the warm-up with the team, the first exercises and then integrate gradually with the group,” Pochettino told the Tottenham official website.

“We’ll see next week step by step if he can improve his fitness to be available as soon as possible.

“Maybe, we’ll have all (of next) week to train and we’ll see if he can arrive in condition to play. We’ll assess him day by day next week.”

While having Alderweireld fit and available will be a massive boost for Tottenham, rushing him back into first-team action would be a major mistake.

Spurs have important games against Manchester United, Arsenal, Liverpool and Juventus coming up and having the Belgian available for some of those would provide added confidence.

However, despite these glamour fixtures coming up and the game against Newport being Alderweireld’s last chance to possible feature for Tottenham before them, starting the defender in the FA Cup next weekend could be rushing the process.

While it would be great to have the Spurs centre-half available for the next game against United, it may make more sense to reintroduce him into the team more gradually, with the rest of the season in mind.

Given Alderweireld’s importance to Tottenham, the last thing the club needs is for a relapse of his injury as Juventus and the Champions League loom next month.