Dejan Kulusevski and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg start for Tottenham in final friendly against Nice but Son Heung-min only makes the bench in Antonio Conte’s stomach bug-hit squad…while Harry Kane misses out entirely following World Cup heartbreak
- Spurs had a friendly against French side Nice at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium
- Several players missed out on the final preparations after a bug hit the squad
- Son Heung-min was affected and had to settle for a place on the Spurs bench
- Harry Kane was not included in the squad and has not been seen in training yet
Dejan Kulusevski and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg start for Tottenham Hotspur as Antonio Conte’s stomach bug-hit squad undergo their final test before the Premier League returns.
South Korea star Son Heung-min could only settle for a place on the bench, with Conte admitting the forward had a fever during the days leading up to the friendly.
But Spurs fans were quick to notice that there was no place at all in the squad for England captain Harry Kane who is yet to return to training following his detrimental penalty miss during England’s quarter-final defeat to France.
Dejan Kulusevski and Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg start for Tottenham in final friendly against Nice
Hugo Lloris, Ivan Perisic and Cristian Romero also missed out after being involved for France, Croatia and Argentina respectively during the final weekend in Qatar.
Oliver Skipp and Djed Spence also missed out entirely, with Conte admitting several players were affected by the bug.
‘I have to be honest we have some problems with some players,’ the Spurs boss said.
‘Because Sonny, in the last two days he didn’t have training for the fever. It was the same today for Skippy and Spence. Many players have a bit of stomach problem.’
There was a place however for Ben Davies who suffered a muscular issue in his stomach while playing for Wales at the World Cup.
South Korea star Son Heung-min could only settle for a place on the bench due to having a fever earlier this week
There was no place in the squad for Harry Kane who has not been pictured training since his penalty miss against France
Tottenham XI vs Nice
Tottenham XI: Forster; Tanganga, Sanchez, Lenglet; Royal, Bissouma, Hojbjerg, Doherty; Kulusevski, White, Gil
Subs: Austin, Whiteman, Paskotsi, Dier, Davies, Sayers, Cesay, Sarr, Sessegnon, John, Lankshear, Son, Devine, Mundle, Santiago
Conte will hope he will have more players at his disposal by the time Spurs return to Premier League action against Brentford on Boxing Day.
The Italian will definitely be without Brazilian World Cup star Richarlison – who suffered a hamstring injury in Qatar – and Rodrigo Bentancur who is recovering from a thigh injury.
Conte added: ‘Rodrigo has started to work. I think that he’s going to be good for the game against Aston Villa. For Richy, tomorrow he’s going to have an MRI to know the importance of the injury.
‘After tomorrow we will see the time he needs to recover.’
Spurs have played just one other friendly during the World Cup – a 4-0 rout against Motherwell in which wing-back Matt Doherty scored a brace.
Conte’s squad resume Premier League football with a trip to west London as they look to cement their place in the top four.
Spurs have a tough New Year to content with playing both Arsenal and Manchester City in the space of four days in January.