Bayer Leverkusen vs Tottenham: Mauricio Pochettino optimistic on Toby Alderweireld with Eric Dier to step in

Belgian centre-back likely to be out for weeks rather than months after injury picked up at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday

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The Independent Football

Mauricio Pochettino is optimistic that Tottenham Hotspur have avoided the nightmare scenario of a long-term injury to Toby Alderweireld. The Belgian centre-back was stretchered off on Saturday and while he will miss Tuesday’s game at Bayer Leverkusen, Pochettino hopefully said at his pre-match press conference in Germany that it was “not a big issue”

Alderweireld was scanned on Monday afternoon and while Tottenham are still waiting on the results, they are confident that the worst fears, of ligament damage or even a fracture, will not be realised. Alderweireld went down in the second half of Spurs’ 1-1 draw at West Bromwich Albion on Saturday afternoon, when he was kicked by team-mate Jan Vertonghen. The Belgian pair have formed the best centre-back partnership in the country since Alderweireld’s signing in 2015.

“We need to wait for the scan but we believe it's not a big issue,” Pochettino said at the BayArena on Monday afternoon. “He got a knock on his leg but it was better yesterday and today. We need to wait for the results of the scan but I hope it's nothing important.”

“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, a big knock, a heavy knock in his leg but we hope it's not a big problem for the next week.” Tottenham accept that Alderweireld will also miss their Premier League game against Bournemouth and League Cup trip to Liverpool, but they hope to have him back for the match with Leicester City the following weekend.

Alderweireld’s injury means that Eric Dier is likely to come back into the team at centre-back, his first appearance in that role this season. Dier predominantly featured at right-back and centre-back in his first year at Spurs, before moving to defensive midfield last season. While Victor Wanyama has taken over as Pochettino’s first choice holder in recent weeks, the Argentine coach said that he had faith in Dier wherever he plays him.

Dier could come in at centre back for Alderweireld (Getty Images)

“The important thing is we trust in him,” Pochettino said. “It’s not important the position he will play. But 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.” 

Cameron Carter-Vickers has impressed Pochettino recently and made his debut in the EFL Cup against Gillingham in late September. But Pochettino said that it would be “difficult for him” to make his Champions League debut here in Leverkusen on Tuesday night. Kyle Walker has not travelled to Germany, meaning that Kieran Trippier is likely to deputise again at right-back.