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Italian star of Nigerian descent, Udogie available for Spurs but Sarr a doubt says coach, Postecoglou

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 Premier League - Tottenham Hotspur v Fulham - Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, Britain - October 23, 2023 Tottenham Hotspur's Destiny Udogie in action with Fulham's Bobby Decordova-Reid REUTERS/David Klein Acquire Licensing Rights

Tottenham Hotspur’s Destiny Udogie will be part of their squad to face Aston Villa, while midfielder Pape Matar Sarr is an injury doubt, manager Ange Postecoglou said on Friday.

Udogie missed Spurs’ last game through suspension and the defender was left out of Italy’s recent squad for the Euro 2024 qualifiers to recover from a muscle injury.

“Destiny is fine and is available. He’s had a good couple of weeks,” Postecoglou said.

Sarr started both Senegal’s World Cup qualifying games during the international break, scoring his first goal for his country in a 4-0 win over South Sudan, but is now an injury concern for Spurs before they face Aston Villa at home on Sunday.

“We’ll have a look at Sarr because he’s got a bit of an issue. We’ll see how he is over the next 24 to 48 hours,” the manager said.

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Rodrigo Bentancur missed Spurs’ opening nine league games with a cruciate ligament tear but has appeared as a substitute in the last three games, and he started for Uruguay in their 3-0 win over Bolivia on Tuesday

“He’s fine. He trained this morning so it was good for Roddy to play. He was really keen to get back into the international team setup, and obviously keen to get back with us as well,” Postecoglou said.

“But he missed a lot with the national team and he feels, like most players, really proud of representing his country. The fact he got an opportunity to start is good for us, it gives him that confidence that he’s able to get through a game.”

The rest of Spurs’ South American players returned to training on Friday, with no issues for Giovani Lo Celso, Emerson Royal or Cristian Romero.

After their unbeaten run in their first 10 Premier League games, Spurs have fallen to two consecutive defeats to Chelsea and Wolverhampton Wanderers, which saw them lose top spot in the table.

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They have now dropped to fourth place, two points behind leaders Manchester City, and host a Villa side who are one place and one point behind Spurs.

“They’ve been good since Unai (Emery) went there. Consistent with the way they play football and over recent weeks scored goals and got belief. Going to be a great test for us,” Postecoglou said.

-Reuters

 

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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