Mauricio Pochettino has said Tottenham midfielder Victor Wanyama “went backwards” during his time with Spurs, adding the club is not a “charity” in regards to playing time.
Wanyama had been a featured player at the base of the midfield for Pochettino during his time at Southampton and the Argentine brought the Kenya international to Spurs in a £12.3 million ($15.2m) move back in 2016.
The Kenyan was a key player in his debut season in London, playing in 36 Premier League games for Spurs and starting 35 of those.
But injuries have limited his effectiveness over the past two campaigns as he has managed 31 appearances over that span, starting only 12 times, as he’s lost his place in Pochettino’s plans.
Wanyama is rumoured to be on his way out before the European transfer window closes on September 2, with a £10m move to Club Brugge mooted.
And Pochettino offered little sympathy for his long-time charge, declaring the club is not a charity, and saying all players need to constantly prove they deserve to be in a manager’s plans.
“It's all about performance. Football is for today and tomorrow, not yesterday,” Pochettino told reporters. “You need always to show that you are there and deserve [to be there].
“In the case of Victor, he suffered an injury and another player stepped up and took his place. We are in a team, we are not a charity.”
While Pochettino did say it wasn’t specifically just about Wanyama, as he has given similar answers of late when questioned over the absence of Jan Vertonghen from the squad. However, Pochettino added Wanyama went backwards during his time at the club.
“I am making clear the answer is not about Victor, but we are not a charity – it is about performance and the coaching staff have a lot of different options to play different players.
“I am the coach, I need to take the decision and hope it will be right. Victor is a very important player and, for different circumstances, went backwards.
“That is the evolution of football and things like that happen naturally at all clubs.”
Wanyama is not the only Spurs star who could be on his way out before the close of the European transfer window.
Midfielder Christian Eriksen has also been rumoured could depart after refusing to sign a new contract.