Kevin Wimmer ready to stand in for Jan Vertonghen at Tottenham
LONDON -- Kevin Wimmer says Tottenham's tough training sessions and healthy food have helped him shed his puppy fat and improve as a player.
Spurs coach Mauricio Pochettino is confident Wimmer, who signed from Bundesliga club FC Koln in the summer, can fill the void left by Jan Vertonghen after the Belgian was ruled out for around two months with a knee injury.
Wimmer, 23, made his Premier League debut in Spurs' 3-1 win at Crystal Palace last weekend, replacing Vertonghen with 15 minutes remaining, and is set for an extended run in the team at centre-back.
The Austria international believes he is now a better -- and leaner -- player than when he arrived in North London and credited Pochettino's strict training and dietary regimes.
"I've improved myself a lot. I've a very good feeling -- my body shape is much better than before I came here," Wimmer told reporters after Spurs' 4-1 FA Cup win at Colchester on Saturday.
"Training sessions in preseason were very hard and also during the season. If you don't play too much, you can work a lot on your fitness and I did a lot of extra work and I can feel that. I have a good body shape at the moment.
"My body fat went down a lot because of the training. I take care of what I eat every day, all the time. I feel very good at the moment and I just want to keep it like this. My body shape was also good when I was in Germany but we have such hard training. And we get such good food -- that's what we didn't have in Germany, so it's good for me.
"I didn't have to cut out anything but at the club you can only eat healthily, which is a very good thing. I live by myself, so it's easier when you get given something to cook and I don't have to cook on my own! I can always take something home for dinner, which is nice.
"We have everything we need at Tottenham and I feel very happy to be here."
Wimmer's six starts for Spurs have all come in the Europa League or domestic cups but he says he feels ready to compete in the Premier League -- starting at Norwich City on Tuesday -- and soften the blow of losing Vertonghen.
"Of course I feel ready. That's what I train for. It's a very tough league. You have to work hard for every 90 minutes but I'm ready.
"I can feel that the fans are sad about Jan's injury. It's the same for us players -- it's never good to see a good payer get injured. He's a very nice guy. I tried in my first month here to learn a lot from him.
"He's a brilliant defender, one of the best in the Premier League, so we're going to miss him but he will come back as strong as he was before. I'll give my best and make the fans of Tottenham satisfied."
Pochettino has described Wimmer as "like Vertonghen but younger" and the 23-year-old says he tries to emulate his teammate.
"I try to be [like Vertonghen], because he's also very calm on the ball and I always try to be calm at the back and play good passes in front. In training sessions, he's big defender, I learn a lot from him and maybe in a few years I can be as strong as him."