Toby Alderweireld needs game time at Tottenham ahead of World Cup, says Belgium boss Roberto Martinez
Last Updated: 29/03/18 7:44am
Roberto Martinez has warned Toby Alderweireld he must win back his place in Tottenham’s starting line-up if he wants to be sure of starting for Belgium at the World Cup.
The 29-year-old centre-back has made only two appearances for Tottenham since suffering a hamstring injury in November, with Davinson Sanchez replacing him at the heart of the Spurs defence alongside international team-mate Jan Vertonghen.
With only eight games remaining in Spurs' Premier League campaign, as well as an FA Cup semi-final against Manchester United, Martinez is anxious to see Alderweireld get significant game time ahead of this summer's global showpiece in Russia.
"Every player needs to get a really good period of football now," the Belgium manager told reporters.
"Seven weeks is not a lot of time. Certain players that play a lot of minutes, the playing time now is not essential. But other players who have not played that much, and Toby can be one of those. It is important.
"But what you see with Toby is that urgency and the defensive, natural habit of intercepting any threat around him. It was great to see that he was really strong in the last 15 minutes physically."
Alderweireld started alongside Vincent Kompany and Vertonghen in Belgium's 4-0 victory over Saudi Arabia on Tuesday as Martinez deployed a back three.
Tottenham have a big game in the race for the top four on Sunday, as they travel to take on London rivals Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, live on Sky Sports.