Born: 24 April 1987 (Sint-Niklaas, Belgium)
Tall, elegant defender Jan Vertonghen joined us from Dutch giants Ajax in the summer of 2012 and is now one of our longest-serving players.
He began his seventh season with us, 2018/19, by getting on the scoresheet in a 2-1 win at Newcastle United and, despite a couple of injury setbacks over the course of that campaign, made 34 appearances in all competitions, including 10 starts in our run to the 2019 UEFA Champions League Final. Along the way, he produced a memorable performance filling in as a left wing-back in the 3-0 home win over Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16 in February, 2019, scoring one goal and assisting another.
A Belgian international, Jan joined Ajax's famed Academy in 2003 before signing professional terms in 2006. He went on to play over 200 times in all competitions for them, landing the title in 2011 and 2012 and gaining a wealth of experience in Europe. A regular captain of the team, Jan was also named Dutch Player of the Year in 2012.
He enjoyed a fantastic first campaign at Spurs in 2012/13, culminating in a place in the PFA's Premier League Team of the Year, voted for by his peers. Switching between central defence and left-back, he played in 34 of our 38 Premier League fixtures and made a total of 49 appearances of 54 in all competitions. He was the only player to start all 12 matches in the Europa League. We also saw another string to Jan's bow - his ability to score a goal - and he found the target six times.
His second season at Spurs in 2013/14 was hit by injuries which forced him out of 12 matches between December and February and then our final six matches of the campaign. He made 33 appearances in all competitions, 23 in the Premier League, and scored once against FC Sheriff in the Europa League. He was back to his best in 2014/15, however, making 47 appearances in all competitions, including 31 starts in the Premier League.
In 2015/16, he was reunited with central defensive partner Toby Alderweireld, with the pair having previously played together at Ajax. Working together to fine effect, the duo remained ever-present in the Premier League for us until Jan picked up a knee ligament injury in January, 2016, but he returned to the side in the closing weeks of the campaign upon his return to fitness. In all, he made 33 appearances for us during that campaign - all starts in either the Premier League or Europa League.
He enjoyed an excellent 2016/17 campaign as we returned to the Champions League fray and finished second in the Premier League, starting 42 games in all competitions either as part of a back three or four. That was in spite of a five-week lay-off with an ankle injury at the start of 2017.
Jan was terrific throughout the 2017/18 campaign, appearing in 36 of our 38 Premier League games, playing six times in the UEFA Champions League, adding a further five appearances in the cups and scoring his first goal since October, 2013, with a long-range strike in our 3-0 FA Cup third round victory over AFC Wimbledon in January, 2018. Using his experience to help exciting young acquisition Davinson Sanchez quickly settle in at the heart of our defence, Jan was rewarded for a consistent, action-packed campaign with a place in the PFA Premier League Team of the Year and the One Hotspur members' Player of the Season award.
Jan was a proud member of the Belgian squad which qualified for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and subsequently made it through to the quarter-finals in Brazil before losing to Argentina. He scored the winner against South Korea in the group stage of the tournament. He subsequently represented his nation at Euro 2016 and in October, 2017, he became the all-time leading appearance-maker for Belgium by winning his 97th cap. In the summer of 2018, he was part of the Belgium squad that finished third at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, scoring in the knockout stages against Japan.