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Caulker could return for Tottenham to face Lazio


Steven Caulker, who missed the north London derby defeat to Arsenal with a knee problem, could return for tomorrow’s Europa League tie against Lazio.

Caulker was expected to travel with the rest of the squad to Rome today for a match that may determine Tottenham’s future in Europe’s secondary competition. The centre-back sustained the injury while on international duty with England, when he earned his first senior cap against Sweden.

The decision on whether to risk Caulker will be a difficult one for Andre Villas-Boas. The Portuguese is determined to progress into the knockout phase of the Europa League but Spurs’ Premier League results have deteriorated in recent weeks and they have a tough match against West Ham at White Hart Lane on Sunday.

Villas-Boas regards Caulker as one of his best defenders and the former Chelsea boss is not concerned about the 20-year-old suffering tiredness. William Gallas, 35, on the other hand, is likely to be rested against Lazio.

The first game in Group J between the sides ended 0-0 at White Hart Lane but was blighted by the racist chants directed at Tottenham’s black players by Lazio supporters. The Italians were fined £32,500 by UEFA but it is believed that should there be a repeat tomorrow, there will be a tougher crackdown from European football’s governing body. Lazio may be forced to play games behind closed doors.

Meanwhile, Paul Gascoigne is due to attend the match between two of his old clubs. The former England midfielder, who left Spurs to join Lazio in 1992, was scheduled to fly to Rome tomorrow so he could be at the Stadio Olimpico.