Roberto Martinez and the Red Devils were dealt another injury scare yesterday, as Jan Vertonghen had to drop out of the Anderlecht starting eleven with an injury. The defender was due to start alongside Zeno Debast in the centre of the Anderlecht defence before an injury in the warm up saw him unable to play.
It appears that the withdrawal was more down to precaution than a sudden event during the warm up. Anderlecht coach Robin Veldman, when asked about the incident, said that it was Vertonghen’s decision not to risk playing. As reported by Het Nieuwsblad, Veldman said “We played on Thursday and then he has to decide for himself whether he can get that little bit of stiffness out. That seemed to sit well, as did his hydration. Only he felt something as the intensity of the warming was ramped up. Jan knows his body well and did not want to take any more risks”.
Vertonghen is the Red Devils record appearance maker, but it appears that the injury should not force him to miss the World Cup. However, with games coming thick and fast during a major tournament, there may well be some concerns among Martinez and his staff about whether or not the experienced defender will be able to feature in every game. This leaves the door open to the likes of Artur Theate of Stade Rennais and Vertonghen’s club teammate Debast to get increased game time in Qatar.
On Thursday Martinez will announce his final squad for the World Cup. Vertonghen is the not the only injury concern for the Red Devils, with Nacer Chadli and Alexis Saelemaekrs also at risk of missing the tournament.