Tottenham midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur has returned to full training but is still weeks away from being in contention to play first-team football, according to Ange Postecoglou.
Bentancur saw his fine 2022-23 campaign cut short in February when he suffered anterior cruciate ligament damage to his left knee during a 4-1 defeat to Leicester.
The former Juventus midfielder had been one of Spurs’ best performers, scoring six times in 26 appearances last season and after eight months out he is close to a return, but will not be in the squad for Monday’s visit of Fulham.
“No, he won’t be in the squad,” Tottenham boss Ange Postecoglou confirmed.
“We’ll be careful with him. Now he’s sort of fully training, so that means he’s into the whole session. We’ve drip-fed him into training the last month and he’s coped pretty well with that.
“Now he’s into full training. We’ve got to be mindful that he’s missed a fair bit of football, but I think the more he trains with the first team over the next few weeks, we’ll sort of pick our moment.
“He’s looking good at training and it was great to have him for the last couple of weeks fully integrated with the guys who are here and we’re looking forward to having him back.”
No problems for Son and Romero
Table-topping Tottenham will have vice-captain Cristian Romero and skipper Son Heung-min available for the London derby.
Romero suffered a whack to his ankle in Argentina’s 2-0 win over Peru earlier this week, while Son was visibly in discomfort during South Korea’s 6-0 victory against Vietnam, although did play the whole match and score in the friendly.
No issues have been reported since the duo returned to Hotspur Way this week.
Postecoglou added: “It has been a pretty positive international break. In terms of availability I’ll start with the internationals first and everybody is back.
“The medical reports seem good so no real issue around the guys from a fitness perspective.
“Playing on a Monday night helps and all the international players should be fine but Brennan (Johnson) we will need to see.”
Johnson has not played for Tottenham since the north London derby at Arsenal on September 24 after he sustained a minor hamstring strain.
The Wales international is training again and set to be in the squad against Fulham, but Spurs will be without Yves Bissouma after he was sent off for two bookable offences at Luton a fortnight ago.
Postecoglou also revealed Dejan Kulusevski is fine after speaking with the winger who was involved in Sweden’s Euro 2024 qualifier at Belgium on Monday, which was abandoned at half-time following confirmation that two Swedish supporters had been killed in a shooting three miles from the stadium in Brussels.
“No, he is fine. I had a chat with him,” Postecoglou explained.
“Like everyone else we shake our heads at these things where you go to a football game and these kind of things happen.
“It is sad and kind of confronting how close it comes to your own world, but Deki is fine. He trained yesterday with the team and is ready to go.”