Mauricio Pochettino has warned Tottenham’s stars he won’t pick players out of “charity” if they don’t meet his standards.
Pochettino has frozen out Belgian defender Jan Vertonghen for the opening two games of the Premier League season, while Kenya midfielder Victor Wanyama is reportedly set to be sold.
Both players have been regulars for Tottenham in the past, with Vertonghen’s omission especially notable given his largely impressive form.
However, Pochettino insists he doesn’t owe anybody a favour when it comes to team selection.
“I am only going to decide to try and provide the best players that are in my head to play,” he told reporters ahead of Sunday’s clash with Newcastle.
“If I don’t play someone it is because I believe there is another in my opinion that is better. This is very clear.
“It is all about performance. It is all about today. Football is about today and tomorrow not yesterday.”
Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld have been preferred to Vertonghen at the heart of Tottenham’s defence for their win over Aston Villa and the draw at Manchester City.
“We are in a team. We are not a charity first of all. It is about performance and we are the coaching staff and we have a lot of options to play to play different players,” Pochettino said.
“If I play Davinson and Toby, why not play Jan? If play Davinson and Jan, why not Toby? If play (Ben) Davies, why not Danny (Rose)?
“And if I play Danny why not Davies? (Harry) Winks and not (Eric) Dier? Dier, why not Wanyama? We can stay here one hour talking about that.
“I am the coach and need to take the decision and hope it will be right.”
– Son return? –
Wanyama was a key player at the start of Pochettino’s reign in north London but looks set to leave by the time the European transfer window shuts on September 2, with strong reports of a possible move to Club Brugge.
“I don’t know,” Pochettino said on whether he thinks Wanyama will leave. “I cannot say something that might or might not happen. Today it is all rumours.
“Victor is a very important player and for different circumstances went backwards. That is the evolution of football and things that happen naturally in all the clubs.”
Despite the “mess” caused by the European window shutting later than the Premier League, Pochettino’s side have taken four points from their opening two games.
They will have Son Heung-min available following suspension, while Dele Alli is back in contention after his hamstring problem.
Tanguy Ndombele will miss out with a slight thigh strain.
“Sonny is available again and it’s about decision and see how he is. To see if we keep him training or be involved, we’ll take the decision tomorrow,” Pochettino said.
“Like all the players, not only Dele, they need to be 100 per cent to have the possibility to play or selected. If not it’s impossible. That is the situation for everyone. It’s not only for him.”