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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino coy on Jan Vertonghen

Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino has denied reports of a rift with star defender Jan Vertonghen.

The 27-year-old Belgium international has been a regular since signing from Ajax in 2012 but found himself relegated to the substitutes' bench against Manchester City on Saturday - eventually coming on with 20 minutes of a 4-1 defeat remaining.

Despite picking Younes Kaboul and Federico Fazio ahead of Vertonghen at Etihad Stadium, Pochettino said: "Jan is an important player for Tottenham and for us.

"But a lot of rumours and information and different situations, and for meit's easy because I don't read it. Never.

"I know the players are sometimes affected by comment or rumours and they callme about the rumours but Jan is a very important player for Tottenham and forme.

"After the Arsenal and Southampton games, we had the international break.Younes Kaboul and Federico Fazio worked very hard here [during that] and arefresh. I gave them the opportunity to play but I haven't changed my view on Jan.

"For me, he is a very good player and he is a key player for us. I never hear from Jan that he wants to leave or change something.

"After it is impossible to hear or to trust in other people around him becausefor me it is important when we have a chat inside my office that never Jan toldme he wants to leave the club.

"I have trust in my player and Jan never told me about that. He is happy atTottenham. Maybe sometimes he wants to play more but my decision is to take adecision. He is happy and I'm happy with him."

Spurs continue their Europa League Group C campaign when they faceAsteras Tripolis on Thursday night.


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