Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino insists the ongoing omission of Toby Alderweireld has nothing to do with the defender’s contract situation.
Belgium international Alderweireld, who battled a hamstring problem earlier this term, is due to enter the final year of his contract next season and is reportedly in the sights of Manchester United.
He has not featured in the Premier League since October, despite being fit enough to play for his country during last month’s international window.
Pochettino, however, is adamant the 29-year-old’s exclusion is purely for footballing reasons.
“I don’t care about the personal situation with the club. If they show me they deserve to play, they are going to play,” Pochettino said.
“It is not about personal feelings or emotions. It is about providing the team with the best tools to win. I cannot consider if they have a one-year contract, six months or 10 years.
“My decision is always about football. It is not personal and not because of a contract problem.”
Pochettino, meanwhile, appeared to shun speculation linking him with a return to Spain by expressing his desire to remain with Spurs.
Tottenham are on course to finish in the top four for a third straight season and the former Argentina international believes his work is far from finished.
“It is always in my nature to work like you are going to be at the club forever, for your life,” he said in an interview with Sky Sports.
“That is the commitment with the club, and to understand what the club expects from you, and try to deliver it for the club. That is our job.
“Every season I think we improve. I think Tottenham is an exciting project, present and future.”