As Jan Vertonghen leaves Tottenham as a player, we remember
Jan Vertonghen was a terrific ambassador for Tottenham both on and off the field. On the field, Vertonghen was one of the best of his generation as a left-sided defender. Whether at his preferred center-half or as a left-sided full-back Jan Vertonghen gave his all and brought more to the position and most footballers could dream. Off the field, Vertonghen was never in the headlines and was someone Spurs fans could always be proud of for being a good person. So what will I remember about Jan Vertonghen’s playing career at Tottenham Hotspur?
Spurs Super Jan
The legend of Super Jan started early in his Tottenham career, as he scored five goals across two competitions during that first 2012-13 season. However, it was the 75th-minute winner against Swansea where the Super Jan celebration was born. While Jan never again reached the same scoring heights as he did in that first season, in truth Vertonghen wasn’t brought to Tottenham Hotspur to score goals, he was brought in to stop them. That said I think we will all remember another goal that resurrected Super Jan for all time.
It was February 13, 2019, and Spurs were playing Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League. First, Jan had already laid a beauty of a pass out for Heung-Min Son to give Spurs the 1-0 lead on the evening. Then at 83 minutes, Vertonghen produced a moment of magic. Serge Aurier hung a long, booming cross from the right to the far side of the penalty area. Vertonghen, came flying in and struck what was surely the purest volley of his career into the net for the 2-0 lead. We know what happened from there, both in Germany and beyond, but that goal will live on. 11 goals in his Spurs career and those two I’ll never forget.
Other Memorable Jan Moments
Another moment I’ll always remember from Jan’s time with Spurs was September 24, 2013, when Jan was chasing an Aston Villa striker and started to slip.
As Vertonghen went down he reached out and grabbed the player’s shorts and essentially pants the attacker. The shot went wide, Jonathan Moss called a goal kick and there was no VAR. The de-pantsing defense was another Vertonghen memory.
Unfortunately, sometimes there were not so great moments with his hands too, most of which had to deal with faces.
There was the incident with Fernando Torres, although Torres was clearly the aggressor. That action must have remained with Vertonghen, as he used a similar face grab himself with Roberto Firmino and Joy Rodriguez. Not exactly the brightest moments of his career, but Vertonghen wasn’t backing down from anyone even if it meant getting a bit nasty from time to time.
Joy, Tears, Spurs
Most of all I will remember Jan Vertonghen as a player committed to Tottenham Hotspur. There was the elation of Amsterdam and the victory of Ajax. There was the anguish and disappointment of losing the Champions League Finale in Madrid to Liverpool. There was topping Arsenal several years in a row in the standings. Vertonghen was never on a team that finished below six and was part of that second-place squad that almost reached the pinnacle.
As Spurs fans we need to remember how lucky we are and have been with the joy of seeing Ledley King, then Jan Vertonghen, and Toby Alderweireld, and Sanchez, Dier, and young Japhet Tanganga. They are all connected and all part of the lineage that Jan Vertonghen left his mark on. Thanks for the memories and smiles Jan you will be missed on the side, good luck!