Martinez: Alderweireld needs game time

Toby Alderweireld

Belgium head coach Roberto Martinez is eager to see Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld get as much game time as possible before the 2018 Fifa World Cup.

The 29-year-old has struggled to regain his place in Mauricio Pochettino’s Spurs side after returning from a hamstring injury, with Davinson Sanchez handed a run in the starting XI.

However, Martinez is hopeful that the centre-back will be given more starts in the last few weeks of the Premier League season to help him with match fitness for the World Cup in Russia.

“Every player needs to get a really good period of football now,” Martinez told the press after Belgium’s 4-0 win over Saudi Arabia on Tuesday. Alderweireld started the game alongside Vincent Kompany and Jan Vertonghen in a back three.

“Seven weeks is not a lot of time. Certain players that play a lot of minutes, the playing time now is not essential. But other players who have not played that much, and Toby can be one of those. It is important.

“But what you see with Toby is that urgency and the defensive, natural habit of intercepting any threat around him. It was great to see that he was really strong in the last 15 minutes physically.”