Jan Vertonghen

Jan Vertonghen
Image from: zimbio.com

Jan Vertonghen

Current Club: Tottenham Hotspur.

Previous Clubs: Ajax.

Loan Clubs: RKC Waalwijk.

International: Belgium 104 caps 8 goals.

Trophies Won: Eredivisie 2010/11, 2011/12. Dutch FA Cup 2006/07, 2009/10. Netherlands Footballer of the Year 2012.

A classy centre back or a functional left back, Vertonghen has had an outstanding season last time out, even after the loss of his partner-in-crime at the back, Toby Alderweireld. One of the key reasons he is so exceptional for Spurs is because of his ability to play full-back. That has meant he is very comfortable when he is forced wide to track an attacker, when one of their wing-backs is caught upfield. Most centre halves like to stay central and become uncomfortable when forced to cover in wide areas, there is no such issue with Vertonghen.

Defensively he is good positionally, decent strength, quick for a centre half and good in the tackle, though aerially he can struggle against a true target man forward. While he is strong enough to deal with most, the real bully boy type of centre forward can get at him. On the ball he is very good, Vertonghen has to be good technically to be so comfortable at full-back, but he is not a top class ball player, like Alderweireld.

What I would say about Vertonghen is that he is good enough in every aspect to have no real out and out weakness, but he is not strong enough in any aspect for them to be pointed out as a major strength of his game. He is an all-round good player, the kind that can slot in alongside any type of partner and fit his game around them. He makes a good partner, a player who can play happily in a keep-ball team or a long ball team without ever looking out of place.

One thing I particularly like about him is that, unlike some of his Spurs team-mates, when things are going against him he keeps going. Vertonghen always seems to be the one still looking to drive forward when the team are behind, still chasing back and trying to regain the ball and the one looking to launch attacks. His experience is vital to the young team, but he does need to show a bit more leadership and be a bit quicker to look to calm Dele Alli down when the red mist descends.

That one aspect is something I would like to see more of from a player with over 100 caps for his country. He needs to be more of a leader. At 31 years of age, in a young squad, he should be taking a role that displays more leadership. His position allows him to see the play developing in front of him, to spot flashpoints and problems, he could do with organising things a bit more. Though, to be fair to him, for most of the last season he was busy covering for a centre back partner who is positionally suspect in Davinson Sanchez, so Vertonghen can be excused doing anything but spend his time trying to talk him through the game.