(Reuters) – Tottenham Hotspur’s Cristian Romero will be ready for Sunday’s Premier League clash at home to Aston Villa, while Rodrigo Bentancur will miss out on the game, manager Antonio Conte said on Friday.
Argentina defender Romero did not play the Premier League match against Brentford on Monday, getting some rest after the World Cup victory against France in Qatar earlier this month.
“From what I saw in last few days in training session, I have seen him with great focus and great desire to come back and play for us,” Conte told reporters.
“For sure I am really happy for him and it is important to have in our team two World Cup champions (French keeper Hugo Lloris the other) But he has to know very well that now starts the more difficult period for him because the expectation is going to become high for him.
“For this reason he has to work even more and continue to work.”
Hotspur’s Uruguay midfielder Bentancur tore an adductor muscle in the World Cup match against Ghana and has been sidelined for an unknown period of time.
“I think we have to wait, maybe today, he’s going to have an MRI to try to have an evaluation about his injury. But for sure against Aston Villa he’s not available,” Conte said.
The Italian manager also commented on the death of Pele on Thursday aged 82 after a long battle with cancer.
“About Pele and my memories. Mine were on TV for the goal he scored. The first person who spoke to me about Pele was my father. My father was in love with Pele because for him, he was the best player in the world and many times he spoke about him,” Conte said.
“Then I watched some games that he played and especially the final of the World Cup and some situations it was incredible what he did with the ball. The memories are this.”
Tottenham are currently in fourth place in the league with 30 points, 10 behind leaders Arsenal with one game more played.
(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk; Editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)