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A year after Mauricio Pochettino omitted Toby Alderweireld from his squad to face Juventus and cast doubt on the defender’s long-term fitness, the Belgian has rarely been so important to Tottenham as they prepare for another Champions League test tonight.

His long-term future is still unresolved and it would have been  easy for a lesser professional to lose focus.



Last February, Alderweireld had  just returned from a three-month hamstring injury and Pochettino claimed playing him in the 2-2 draw in Turin would have risked his career.



Yet, ahead of tonight’s Champions League round-of-16, first-leg tie against Borussia Dortmund, Alderweireld is well and truly back; from left at home a year ago to left on the bench for last Sunday’s win over Leicester to keep him fresh for Dortmund’s visit to Wembley.

Privately, Alderweireld felt fit to play and Pochettino’s decision to ignore him for such a significant game only served to increase tension after contract talks had irreparably broken down while the centre-half was injured.

Everyone at the club, including Pochettino and Alderweireld himself, expected him to be sold in the summer.

Alderweireld, Rose and, most recently, Vincent Janssen have all benefited from a softening of his stance.
For more news relating to Spurs, visit our sister site Spurs Live.
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