Toby: "I'm calmer on the pitch than outside it!"
Thu 08 February 2018, 12:00|Tottenham Hotspur
Before last night, Toby Alderweireld last stepped out at Wembley against Real Madrid. Now it was Newport County - and on a personal level, it mattered just as much.
The ever-reliable defender picked up a hamstring injury after a burst forward in that memorable win against the holders in the Champions League on November 1. That ended an ever-present run in the Premier League from 1 January. He missed just two cup matches between January 1-November 1.
Just over three months later, Toby was back and helping the team to a clean sheet, a 2-0 win in the FA Cup fourth round replay against Newport and a fifth round date at Rochdale on 18 February.
"I worked hard in the last couple of months to get to this point, the last weeks have been tough and I'm very happy to get 90 minutes from the manager, to show myself again and to be able to help the team again," said Toby. "I’m a very happy man."
Asked what it's like to be sidelined through such a key period, Toby responded: "First of all, you train very hard when you are injured. I think harder than normal!
"Secondly, you just want to help the team and you can’t do that. It’s painful to watch but at the other end, it gives you the motivation to come back strong and as quickly as possible. It works both ways."
So how was he watching matches while he's out? Was he on the edge of his seat, behind the sofa or as calm as the Toby Alderweireld we all see on the pitch? "The last game at Liverpool, I was watching and it was all those things together, like every Spurs fan!
"I’m calmer on the pitch than outside it! It’s strange, but that’s how it is."
Attention now turns to the big one at Wembley - Saturday's north London derby against Arsenal in the Premier League (12.30pm).
Toby added: "It's a huge game, the squad will be ready and hopefully I’ll be part of it."