Sky Sports pundit Paul Merson has revealed he has been stunned by the turnaround of Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham as he admits he thought the Belgian defender was nearly finished in north London.
The versatile centre back stole the show in midweek as he dazzled in the Champions League win over Borussia Dortmund, operating in a left back role in which he has played before but not on a regular basis.
Comparing his performance against the Germans to what he saw against Chelsea in the League Cup semi finals, Merson could hardly believe it was the same player – although tipped Danny Rose to take his place in the line up when he returns to fitness.
He told Sky Sports’ Soccer Saturday (16/02, 13:32): “I watched him in the semi finals (of the League Cup) at Stamford Bridge the other week, I thought he was coming towards the end if I’m being honest.
“I watched him, he looked tight around, he couldn’t really move, he wasn’t agile. Fair play to him, I thought he was absolutely outstanding but I’d have Rose all day long. I think Rose is one of the best in the business, he’s top drawer.”
Merson is one of the most outspoken pundits with some of the strangest views on football and this only cements his place at the top of that particular pile. There will not have been too many fans or pundits who thought that Vertonghen was anywhere near the end of his time at Tottenham, even if he struggled against Chelsea, having established himself as one of the most dependable performers in the Spurs side this season. His display against Dortmund was one of the most outstanding left back displays the fans will have witnessed during the current campaign, dominating both in defence and when pushing up in attack. Merson might not have said it out loud but the Belgian ace is still making him eat his words. It does not look like he is anywhere near to being finished at Tottenham – he actually looks as good as he has ever been during his time in north London.