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Tottenham’s Croatia trio could return to face Chelsea

By September 17, 2021No Comments

Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo says Giovani Lo Celso, Cristian Romero and Davinson Sanchez will be considered for selection against Chelsea.

All three players have been in Croatia for the last 10 days following their decision to defy Premier League rules and travel to South America for World Cup qualifiers.

Lo Celso and Romero travelled to Argentina while Sanchez was in Colombia, meaning they would have had to do a hard quarantine had they come straight back to England.

Tottenham’s Croatia trio could return to face Chelsea PLZ Soccer
Giovani Lo Celso, centre, and Argentina leave the field after their World Cup qualifier against Brazil was abandoned (Andre Penner/AP)

Instead, they circumvented that by going to Croatia, where rules are relaxed, with Spurs sending out a sports scientist to try to keep them in shape.

They return to England on Saturday morning and will train with the squad in the afternoon, meaning they could be involved in Sunday’s London derby.

Nuno said: “They arrive Saturday and they have a training session in the afternoon.

“If they are available and fit, if we consider they will be options, then we must consider them in this moment.

“They are working hard in Croatia with the sports scientist, it’s not the same but due to circumstances we have to assess them properly.

“Of course we anticipate the situation to be able to join all the group together in the afternoon.”

Tottenham’s Croatia trio could return to face Chelsea PLZ Soccer
Davinson Sanchez, centre, is one of Tottenham’s recent absentees (David Davies/PA)

The trio’s decision to disobey Premier League rules, after clubs voted not to release players travelling to red list countries last month, has frustrated Nuno, who has been without three key players for the last two games.

“It’s something that we must understand when we speak about that,” he added.

“We must understand what happened due to restrictions but for us as a group it’s been hard.

“It’s been hard because absences are always a problem. It requires adaptation but hopefully they return Saturday and we can look forward normally.”

Another issue Nuno has had to deal with is the return of Harry Kane to the fold after he was unable to get his summer transfer to Manchester City.

The England captain did not return to training until two days before the season started and he has yet to hit his stride this season.

Nuno says there is much more to come.

“Harry is an amazing player,” he said. “His quality, talent. I think he has to improve.

“We are in that process of trying to find the best levels of fitness. His dedication has been huge.”

Son Heung-min (calf) and Eric Dier (dead leg) are battling to be fit for the visit of Thomas Tuchel’s side.

Neither travelled to France for the Europa Conference League clash with Rennes, where Steven Bergwijn and Lucas Moura hobbled off.

Nuno was unable to say whether the latter two would be fit on Sunday, while Japhet Tanganga is suspended.