Steven Caulker to play for Tottenham despite Serbia 'anxiety'


Click to follow
The Independent Football

Andre Villas-Boas, the Tottenham Hotspur manager, has been assured that Steven Caulker is ready to play this weekend despite charges from Serbian police hanging over the defender.

The 20-year-old was playing in the Capital One Cup defeat at Norwich City on Wednesday when a Belgrade news agency named him as one of two England Under-21 players charged for their role in a brawl marred by alleged racial abuse at the end of the game in Krusevac.

Caulker and his club have still not been notified by Serbian authorities of the charge but he is likely to start against Wigan Athletic tomorrow despite Villas-Boas suggesting the situation could "create anxiety".

The Portuguese coach said: "I've spoken to him about the situation and he's up for the game. He is in the right frame of mind. He will be ready to play and he obviously has a big chance to play as he has been doing quite well to make selection.

"I'm not worried yet of the consequence of what can happen."

Caulker's form has kept Michael Dawson out of Spurs' first team this season and he was a key contributor in September's victory at Manchester United. Roy Hodgson rewarded Caulker with an England call-up before he returned to the Under-21s for the play-off against Serbia.

"I'm extremely happy for him," Villas-Boas said. "He is 20 years old and is doing extremely well, coping with the best strikers in the world – Fernando Torres, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie.

"He's done it in the past for Swansea but there is more pressure on results now and he is doing well. I think he can have a bright future."

While Caulker has been made available to face Wigan, Mousa Dembélé has been ruled out and has undergone a scan on a long-standing hip injury. The Belgium midfielder suffered the same problem at Fulham and may need surgery, which would rule him out until the busy Christmas schedule starts.

"We want to avoid surgery if there is a possibility we can do it," Villas-Boas said.