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'Great player, great guy' - Jan on Toby

Posted on 21 May 2016  - 13:00

It would have come as no surprise to Jan Vertonghen to see his long-time team-mate Toby Alderweireld sweep up a host of individual honours at the end of the season.

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The Belgian internationals have played together for the best part of eight years when Toby joined Jan at Ajax in Holland.

The pair won a hat-trick of titles at Ajax before going their separate ways - Jan joined us in 2013 while Toby switched to Atletico Madrid.

Two years later, they were re-united again at the Lane and provided the central partnership for a superb season defensively as we clinched third place in the Premier League and secured Champions League football next season.

- 35 goals conceded is our best in the Premier League and second-best of all-time in a top-flight season - bettered only by 33 in Division One in 1970-71.

- Best goal difference in the Premier League in 2015-16, plus-34.

- Joint-best record in terms of goals conceded in the Premier League for the season with Manchester United, who also conceded 35.

Toby was ever-present in the Premier League and Europa League, starting 49 of our 53 matches.

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Toby was handed the honour of a place in the UEFA Europa League Squad of the Season on Friday, his latest accolade after earning a place in the PFA Team of the Season and being named both One Hotspur Members and Supporters Clubs Player of the Season here at Spurs.

"Toby did the same at Ajax and in the national team, he came in and didn’t need any time to adapt," said Jan, the pair now preparing with the Belgian squad for Euro 2016.

"He’s been great for us and he’s a great guy for the group as well, so relaxed and down to earth.

"We know how we play. We want to play in the same way so we know how we want to defend, how much space to leave at the back and we just cope with it.

"We know how to protect each other and we don’t even have to speak much on the pitch, we just understand how we want to play.

"Together with the full-backs and Hugo, Eric Dier, Mousa and whoever plays in front of us, the rest of the team has done a great job to offload us, so full compliments to them as well.

There was also praise for Kevin Wimmer, who provided a perfect central foil for Toby over 15 matches when Jan was injured.

"Kevin did great whenever he came in, he fitted in perfectly," added Jan. "There was never a doubt. Kevin is a great player and he did what everyone expected of him."