Andros Townsend’s exile from the Tottenham squad is over and he will return to contention for Sunday’s derby against West Ham, manager Mauricio Pochettino has revealed.
Townsend was banned from first-team training and left out of the squad to face Arsenal two weeks ago as punishment for a heated exchange with a Spurs fitness trainer during a post-match warm-down.
Pochettino, however, has welcomed the winger back into the fold and insists all is forgotten ahead of this weekend’s clash at White Hart Lane.
“Andros started training with the group again on Tuesday,” Pochettino said, though the winger has not started a single Premier League game this season.
“For me, it was a problem for which he has apologised. He is still young, needs to improve.
“For me, forget the past, if he deserves to be in the squad, it is not a problem.
“We need to forget that and we need to give him the possibility to be part of the team.”
Nabil Bentaleb is not available to face the Hammers, however, after he sustained a knock to his ankle during Algeria’s 7-0 win over Tanzania on Tuesday.
The challenge came on the same ankle that has prevented Bentaleb from playing for Tottenham since the end of August – although Pochettino is confident the midfielder will be back next week.
“We feel sorry for Bentaleb because he was very close to playing in the week we played against Arsenal,” Pochettino said.
“We agreed with him that to go to the national team was a good opportunity to start to compete again.
“This is one step back but I am sure that in the next few days he will be available to be selected again. For Qarabag (next Thursday) or for Chelsea (next Sunday). It’s not a big issue.
“It was the same ankle, it was a very bad tackle. If you look at it, it was a very bad tackle. We are lucky and he is lucky it was not a big issue.”