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The Belgian defender has been filling in for the injured Benoit Assou-Ekotto, but with the left-back close to fitness, the 25-year-old wants a return to his favoured position

Jan Vertonghen admits he is ready to return to playing as a centre-back for Tottenham after filling in for the injured Benoit Assou-Ekotto at left-back.

The Belgium international plays in the heart of defence by nature, but has impressed in a wide berth in the absence of the Cameroonian, particularly during Spurs' 3-2 win at Manchester United.

However, with Andre Villas-boas' first-choice left-back now training again after three months out, Vertonghen believes returning to the middle of the defence would be good for both the team and himself.

"For the team it is best that I play as a centre-back. I like to bring the ball out. When teams drop in and you need to move the game quickly, that is one of my qualities as well," he told reporters.

"The manager knows I prefer centre-back but that is enough for me. He respects me but tells me whenever I need to play left back. I want to help the team.

"It would be good to have Benoit back but not only for that reason as he is one of the best left-backs in the league.

"I love to go up front. It is a little more difficult than when you are playing centre back. My influence on the game, if you play the way that I want to play as a centre-back, I think my influence is better as a centre-back. That is why I want to play there."

Vertonghen's international team-mate Christian Benteke will face Spurs with Aston Villa on Boxing Day, and the centre-back has warned that the striker will be a real handful for whoever he is up against in the centre.

He added: "[Benteke] is very good in the air and he can score. He will be a very tough player to play against. I know him quite well from Belgium the league and national team. It doesn't surprise me that he has done well."

Spurs are currently in sixth place in the Premier League, level on 30 points with Arsenal, Everton and West Brom.

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