Jan Vertonghen dropped for Tottenham's win against Aston Villa due to 'poor fitness levels' 
Getty Images/Tottenham Hotspur FC 

The Belgium international regularly played in Tottenham Hotspurs's pre-season campaign but was absent from the side that beat Aston Villa  3-1 on Saturday. 

Jan Vertonghen was surprisingly left out of Tottenham's 18-man squad and was forced to watch from the stands for having 'poor fitness levels'. 

Pochettino tight-lipped

Mauricio Pochettino was reluctant to explain his reasoning behind swapping Davinson Sanchez for Vertonghen in the starting XI, but the Spurs boss insisted he made the right decision.

''With all the players fit you struggle to find a starting XI'', Pochettino said on Saturday. 

''This is my sixth season, I think everyone knows me. I am going to play the players who I believe deserve to play. 

''There is not an issue, only my decision was to play with Toby (Alderweireld) and Davinson (Sanchez). 

''We have more than 25 players and everyone needs to understand we have plenty of good players in every position.''

Davinson Sanchez and Toby Alderweireld will likely be the preferred choice at the back for Spurs in their next match when they travel to the Etihad Stadium to face Premier League champions, Manchester City

Contract issues

Vertonghen's absence on Saturday caused a high amount of speculation given the timing of Pochettino's decision to leave him out of the squad. The defender has not yet received a contract renewal at the club, meaning he could leave the club when his contract expires next summer. 

The Belgian recently claimed that he was unsure of his future at Spurs after being left in the dark about his contract renewal.  

''I just want to focus on this year. I know I have got one year left so I know a lot of questions will be asked.

“I have said it before, I am very happy at the club. The supporters have been great for me, the manager has improved me a lot and has a lot of confidence in me. I feel very good physically so I am not sure what is going to happen this year. 

“I can only say I am happy where I am at and I feel the support from the manager, team-mates and the squad.”