Big blow for Spurs as Vertonghen is sidelined over defining period
Tottenham Hotspur fear that Jan Vertonghen will not return to first team action until April after scans on the centre-back's ankle ligament injury were assessed.
Vertonghen is set to be out for at least two months with the injury sustained in the second half of Saturday's 4-0 defeat of West Bromwich Albion. Two months today would take Vertonghen up to the Premier League fixtures on March 18, but that is followed by an international break.
Mauricio Pochettino admitted immediately after the injury that it "looked very bad" for Vertonghen, who left the pitch in tears after rolling his ankle. The diagnosis of eight to 10 weeks is a serious blow to Tottenham's season, coming with Spurs on a run of seven consecutive wins.
If Vertonghen does not return until April 1 then he will miss eight Premier League games.
He will also miss the fourth round of the FA Cup and, if Spurs progress, the fifth round and quarter-finals. In the Europa League he will miss the last-32 tie against Gent and, if Spurs go through, both legs of the last-16.
Vertonghen's injury deprives Pochettino of one of his most experienced defenders. He played Ben Davies on the left of the back three for the second half on Saturday and could keep him there or play Austrian international Kevin Wimmer. Pochettino could also switch back to a back four with Eric Dier alongside Toby Alderweireld.