Vertonghen drops bombshell about nine-month Tottenham period

Jan Vertonghen TEAMtalk

Jan Vertonghen has dropped a bombshell after claiming a head injury affected him for nine months while he was still at Tottenham.

The former Spurs star’s comments are sure to heighten the demands for concussion substitutes, while stronger protocols are expected to be introduced into the game.

The 33-year-old has revealed his problems started after a horrific clash of heads with Toby Alderweireld during a Champions League semi final with Ajax in 2019.

The Belgian, who joined Benfica last summer, was physically sick on the pitch after trying to play on. Spurs, however,  insisted later that medical reports showed he did not suffer concussion.

Vertonghen, talking on a podcast (as cited by the Mirror) about the incident, said: “This is now the first time I speak about it. I should not have continued playing, it affected me in total for nine months. That’s why I couldn’t bring on the field what I wanted to.

“I just didn’t know what to do. It was game after game and training after training. Every time there was a new impact.

“Then the lockdown came and I was able to rest for two months, after that it was a lot better.”

Vertonghen chose not to tell anyone and did not blame the club or Jose Mourinho, who replaced Mauricio Pochettino as manager, for not playing him due to a lack of form.

“Lots of people don’t know it but I suffered a lot from that hit: dizziness and headaches,” Vertonghen said.

“Not a lot of people knew it. It was my personal choice. That’s not a reproach to anybody.”

Vertonghen feared being frozen out

When asked whether there was a fear he may not be picked to play by admitting the problem, Vertonghen added: “Maybe. And also the image: what does it mean for the rest (of my career). You know. I am fine now since four or five months.


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“Everybody thought I was angry at Mourinho but at that moment I just couldn’t go on anymore. I had only one year of contract left, so I had to play. But when I played, I played badly.

“The fact I got benched had nothing to do with him. I was in a period I could not bring what I should have. I even though he played me a lot compared to how I performed.”

Premier League clubs are set to vote on introducing concussion substitutes on Thursday. That is if they get the go-ahead from law makers IFAB, who will discuss it this week.

The recent horror injury to Wolves striker Raul Jimenez, plus the decision to allow David Luiz to carry on playing after another serious injury has highlighted the issue even more.

There have also been a raft of former players suffering from dementia and Alzheimers that has firmly put the spotlight on concussion.

READ MORE: Attacker unlikely to stay at Tottenham beyond end of season, report states