Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld shown during a Premier League match against Leicester City in August. Rui Vieira / AP / August 22, 2015
Tottenham defender Toby Alderweireld shown during a Premier League match against Leicester City in August. Rui Vieira / AP / August 22, 2015

Clean shorts, clean sheets: Strong, smart Toby Alderweireld puts spine in Spurs



“When I was a kid I had a coach who would tell me that if my shorts weren’t dirty at the end of the game then I’d not played well,” Rio Ferdinand, the now retired former Manchester United centre-back, once revealed in a discussion about the art of defending.

“In my mind, it’s the opposite: ideally, I want to come off the pitch with spotless shorts. I think sometimes you can judge how good a defender is by the colour of his shorts at the end of a game.”

Toby Alderweireld is another centrehalf who seems to subscribe to such a belief.

Despite donning the all-white kit of Tottenham Hotspur, the Belgian rarely leaves the field with even a speck of mud on his garments.

That is testament not only to the fine work of Premier League groundsmen, but also to Alderweireld's awareness and excellent reading of the game.

As Ferdinand suggested, the best defenders usually do not need to go to ground because their astute positioning allows them to anticipate danger and cut out moves before a last-ditch intervention is required.

Read more: Greg Lea on Mousa Dembele showing he can be the man to rev Tottenham's engine

Alderweireld, who has committed only five fouls in 22 top flight matches, has likely earned the admiration of the ex-England international with his measured performances this season.

If Ferdinand is indeed a fan of Alderweireld, he is far from alone.

The man signed from Atletico Madrid for £11.5 million (Dh60.3m) last summer has won many admirers at White Hart Lane in the last few months, with Tottenham’s top-four push built on a solid backline of which he has been an integral and ever-present part.

Ahead of Saturday’s trip to Crystal Palace, Alderweireld and centre-back partner Jan Vertonghen have not yet missed a single minute of action in the Premier League, with such continuity in a key position pivotal to Tottenham’s success so far this term.

Alderweireld is strong, reliable and intelligent, while his athleticism means he is comfortable operating in the high defensive line that Mauricio Pochettino’s pressing game depends on.

He has also helped to start attacks from the back, with his long ball to set up Dele Alli’s goal in the 1-1 draw with Everton earlier this month evidence of his range of passing.

As well as bringing his own individual qualities to the table, Alderweireld has also had a positive influence on his teammates around him.

Vertonghen looks far more settled playing alongside his compatriot and former Ajax colleague, with many of the costly errors and lapses in concentration that he was guilty of making in the past largely absent so far in 2015/16.

Left back Danny Rose has become more consistent too, while Kyle Walker has shown signs of improvement on the other side of the back four.

With Eric Dier proving to be a revelation as a holding midfielder and Hugo Lloris one of the best goalkeepers in the Premier League, it is not surprising that no side has conceded fewer goals than Tottenham’s 18 this campaign.

“If you make a foul, it means you are too late,” Alderweireld recently told the Daily Mirror in an interview that provided an insight into his approach to defending.

“If you don’t make a foul, he is gone. I go when I know 100 per cent I can get the ball. I defend my position.

“I am not [Lionel] Messi. I am not [Cristiano] Ronaldo. I have something else. I am not the quickest, like [Theo] Walcott. I have to be clever and read ­situations.

“If I didn’t have that, I wouldn’t be able to play Premier League. Everybody has a strength – this is mine.”

It is a rather useful attribute for any defender to possess, and one that has helped set Tottenham on the path towards Uefa Champions League qualification this season.

Not just for the money

It was the U-turn to end all U-turns.

Six days after rejecting the overtures of Manchester City and committing his long-term future to Aston Villa, Fabian Delph was photographed undergoing a medical at a Manchester hospital ahead of an £8m switch to the Etihad Stadium.

A cursory glance at his appearance record since that move in July would seem to suggest that Delph’s initial concerns about the amount of first team football he would be afforded at City were prescient.

The midfielder’s absence from the starting XI for much of the campaign has primarily been because of injury, however, with a hamstring issue ruling him out of action for two months between September and November.

His comeback from the problem was gradual. Before last weekend’s 4-0 win over Crystal Palace, Delph had started just two Premier League games all season.

The 26-year-old’s return to full fitness and fine display in that victory, though, suggest that he has an important role to play for the remainder of the campaign.

Delph added energy and drive in the middle of the park, with the England international involved in both phases of play as he shuttled between the two penalty boxes.

As well as breaking up a number of Palace’s advances, he also opened the scoring with a shot from distance and was heavily involved in many of City’s attacking moves, with David Silva and Joe Ledley the only players on the pitch to complete more passes than Delph.

Yaya Toure and Fernandinho are likely to remain Pellegrini’s first-choice central midfielders, with the former still capable of game-changing interventions and the latter one of City’s most reliable performers.

Nevertheless, Delph can still play a big part as City continue their fight on four fronts in 2016.

sports@thenational.ae

Follow us on Twitter @NatSportUAE

Like us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheNationalSport

SPIDER-MAN: ACROSS THE SPIDER-VERSE

Directors: Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson
Stars: Shameik Moore, Hailee Steinfeld, Oscar Isaac
Rating: 4/5

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed

Company profile

Company name: Nestrom

Started: 2017

Co-founders: Yousef Wadi, Kanaan Manasrah and Shadi Shalabi

Based: Jordan

Sector: Technology

Initial investment: Close to $100,000

Investors: Propeller, 500 Startups, Wamda Capital, Agrimatico, Techstars and some angel investors

Our legal consultant

Name: Dr Hassan Mohsen Elhais

Position: legal consultant with Al Rowaad Advocates and Legal Consultants.

5 of the most-popular Airbnb locations in Dubai

Bobby Grudziecki, chief operating officer of Frank Porter, identifies the five most popular areas in Dubai for those looking to make the most out of their properties and the rates owners can secure:

• Dubai Marina

The Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residence are popular locations, says Mr Grudziecki, due to their closeness to the beach, restaurants and hotels.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh482 to Dh739 
Two bedroom: Dh627 to Dh960 
Three bedroom: Dh721 to Dh1,104

• Downtown

Within walking distance of the Dubai Mall, Burj Khalifa and the famous fountains, this location combines business and leisure.  “Sure it’s for tourists,” says Mr Grudziecki. “Though Downtown [still caters to business people] because it’s close to Dubai International Financial Centre."

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh497 to Dh772
Two bedroom: Dh646 to Dh1,003
Three bedroom: Dh743 to Dh1,154

• City Walk

The rising star of the Dubai property market, this area is lined with pristine sidewalks, boutiques and cafes and close to the new entertainment venue Coca Cola Arena.  “Downtown and Marina are pretty much the same prices,” Mr Grudziecki says, “but City Walk is higher.”

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh524 to Dh809 
Two bedroom: Dh682 to Dh1,052 
Three bedroom: Dh784 to Dh1,210 

• Jumeirah Lake Towers

Dubai Marina’s little brother JLT resides on the other side of Sheikh Zayed road but is still close enough to beachside outlets and attractions. The big selling point for Airbnb renters, however, is that “it’s cheaper than Dubai Marina”, Mr Grudziecki says.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh422 to Dh629 
Two bedroom: Dh549 to Dh818 
Three bedroom: Dh631 to Dh941

• Palm Jumeirah

Palm Jumeirah's proximity to luxury resorts is attractive, especially for big families, says Mr Grudziecki, as Airbnb renters can secure competitive rates on one of the world’s most famous tourist destinations.

Frank Porter’s average Airbnb rent:
One bedroom: Dh503 to Dh770 
Two bedroom: Dh654 to Dh1,002 
Three bedroom: Dh752 to Dh1,152 

RESULTS

5pm: Maiden | Dh80,000 |  1,600m
Winner: AF Al Moreeb, Tadhg O’Shea (jockey), Ernst Oertel (trainer)

5.30pm: Handicap |  Dh80,000 |  1,600m
Winner: AF Makerah, Adrie de Vries, Ernst Oertel

6pm: Handicap |  Dh80,000 |  2,200m
Winner: Hazeme, Richard Mullen, Jean de Roualle

6.30pm: Handicap |  Dh85,000 |  2,200m
Winner: AF Yatroq, Brett Doyle, Ernst Oertel

7pm: Shadwell Farm for Private Owners Handicap |  Dh70,000 |  2,200m
Winner: Nawwaf KB, Patrick Cosgrave, Helal Al Alawi

7.30pm: Handicap (TB) |  Dh100,000 |  1,600m
Winner: Treasured Times, Bernardo Pinheiro, Rashed Bouresly

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Women's Prize for Fiction shortlist

The Silence of the Girls by Pat Barker

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

Milkman by Anna Burns

Ordinary People by Diana Evans

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Circe by Madeline Miller

RIDE ON

Director: Larry Yang

Stars: Jackie Chan, Liu Haocun, Kevin Guo

Rating: 2/5

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Dr Amal Khalid Alias revealed a recent case of a woman with daughters, who specifically wanted a boy.

A semen analysis of the father showed abnormal sperm so the couple required IVF.

Out of 21 eggs collected, six were unused leaving 15 suitable for IVF.

A specific procedure was used, called intracytoplasmic sperm injection where a single sperm cell is inserted into the egg.

On day three of the process, 14 embryos were biopsied for gender selection.

The next day, a pre-implantation genetic report revealed four normal male embryos, three female and seven abnormal samples.

Day five of the treatment saw two male embryos transferred to the patient.

The woman recorded a positive pregnancy test two weeks later. 

Water waste

In the UAE’s arid climate, small shrubs, bushes and flower beds usually require about six litres of water per square metre, daily. That increases to 12 litres per square metre a day for small trees, and 300 litres for palm trees.

Horticulturists suggest the best time for watering is before 8am or after 6pm, when water won't be dried up by the sun.

A global report published by the Water Resources Institute in August, ranked the UAE 10th out of 164 nations where water supplies are most stretched.

The Emirates is the world’s third largest per capita water consumer after the US and Canada.

DRIVERS' CHAMPIONSHIP STANDINGS

1. Sebastian Vettel (Ferrari) 171 points
2. Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-GP) 151
3. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-GP) 136
4. Daniel Ricciardo (Red Bull Racing) 107
5. Kimi Raikkonen (Ferrari) 83
6. Sergio Perez (Force India) 50
7. Max Verstappen (Red Bull Racing) 45
8. Esteban Ocon (Force India) 39
9. Carlos Sainz (Torro Rosso) 29
10. Felipe Massa (Williams) 22

New Zealand squad

Tim Southee (capt), Trent Boult (games 4 and 5), Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson (games 1-3), Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Daryl Mitchell, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Ross Taylor, Blair Tickner

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Gold
Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Silver
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Bronze
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

Company Profile

Name: Direct Debit System
Started: Sept 2017
Based: UAE with a subsidiary in the UK
Industry: FinTech
Funding: Undisclosed
Investors: Elaine Jones
Number of employees: 8


Latest
Most Read
Top Videos