Family and football for Toby
Fri 14 February 2020, 15:20|Tottenham Hotspur
What a week for Toby Alderweireld - on and off the pitch.
The defender has Villa in his sights as we return to Premier League action on Sunday (2pm) before our Champions League Round of 16, first leg at home to RB Leipzig on Wednesday (8pm) and a huge game at Chelsea on Saturday week (22 February, 12.30pm).
Before that, something even more pressing. “It’s a huge week for me as well, because on Friday, my son will be born,” Toby told us on Wednesday. “But yes, it’s a big game on Sunday, and we’re creeping towards the top four.”
Jose Mourinho confirmed that Toby’s son, Jace, was born on Thursday evening. “Congratulations to Toby and to his family because he was the dad of a little baby last night,” he told the media on Friday. “He was there in the moment, he stays there one more day with his wife and with his new baby, enjoying a great moment for the family and tomorrow, back to his job.”
Jace Alderweireld 💙.— Alderweireld Toby (@AlderweireldTob) February 14, 2020
The best Valentine's Day gift we could ever wish for! Thank you to my beautiful wife Shani for being the strongest and most courageous woman. My heart is so full and I can't wait for the special memories the four of us will make together. pic.twitter.com/pDYp0byPSV
Go back a month, and Toby felt our performance in a narrow loss to Liverpool was ‘a turning point’.
We’re now six unbeaten in all competitions and a fine victory over Manchester City last time out in the Premier League moved us to within four points of Chelsea in fourth.
“Our game is not always perfect, but you can see we’ve gone from 12 points behind the top four to four points,” he added. “We went through to the last 16 of the Champions League and the next round of the FA Cup as well. Of course, with replays, but we managed to get through and now we have a home draw in the fifth round, so that’s positive as well.
“We’re going in the right direction. We’re not where we want to be but going in the right direction is positive and if you look at the position we were in when the manager came in to where we are now, that’s all positive.”
That positivity is alive in the changing room as well. “Yes, definitely, but not without knowing there are areas we need to improve,” added Toby. “We’ve had to deal with injuries as well, everyone knows how important Harry Kane is to us, Moussa Sissoko as well, we’ve had other injuries so we’re dealing with that well and the spirit is good.”
Finally, Toby on another subject close to home - Jan Vertonghen.
Much has been made of Jan’s substitution in our FA Cup replay win against Southampton, but here’s a player who knows him as well as anyone.
Toby said: “It’s never a nice feeling to go off and that just shows how much it means to him. If he just walked off thinking ‘it doesn’t matter, I don’t care’... no, he cares for the team and you could see that in his reaction when we got the penalty.
“Jan has unbelievable qualities and he’s showed them time after time. He’s a top professional, top player, top person and when you see him every day in training, still top, top quality.”