Ange Postecoglou to hand Giovani Lo Celso chance to impress for Tottenham

Lo Celso has made 88 appearances for Tottenham, but not started in the Premier League since 2021.

George Sessions
Saturday 25 November 2023 09:51 GMT
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Giovani Lo Celso could earn his first Premier League start for Spurs since 2021 this weekend (Bruna Prado/AP)
Giovani Lo Celso could earn his first Premier League start for Spurs since 2021 this weekend (Bruna Prado/AP) (AP)

Ange Postecoglou has promised Giovani Lo Celso there will be opportunities for him to turn around his Tottenham career over the coming weeks.

Spurs are without at least nine first-teamers for the visit of Aston Villa in the Premier League on Sunday.

Yves Bissouma (suspended) and James Maddison (ankle) will definitely miss out and the prolonged absence of the latter has resulted in calls for Lo Celso to be given a first league start for Spurs since 2021.

Signed four years ago towards the end of Mauricio Pochettino’s tenure, the Argentina international worked with current Villa boss Unai Emery at Villarreal last season, but could get the chance to haunt his old manager this weekend.

“I looked at Gio really well before I got here, both here at Tottenham and his spells at other clubs,” Postecoglou said.

“You can see he has certain qualities. He’s had a disruptive season for us. He’s had a few injuries, he hasn’t really had a clean run at it.

“He’s one of a number of players that has happened to, but you can see technically, he’s a very creative player, he works hard for the team.

“He’ll get an opportunity over the next few weeks to hopefully come in and make an impact.”

While Lo Celso has struggled to make his mark in England, the 27-year-old remains a key figure for his country and started Argentina’s 1-0 win in Brazil on Tuesday.

But Postecoglou admitted: “I don’t think his national-team form is a direct correlation to here. Just like anyone else’s.

“Gio will get an opportunity, particularly over the next few weeks because we are down on numbers and have a fair few games between now and the new year.

“If they’re here, they’ll get an opportunity. That’s all you can offer.”

Lo Celso was heavily linked with a move away in the summer, but Postecoglou made clear from the outset his desire to keep him at Spurs.

Barcelona remain interested in the midfielder and while Tottenham’s injury list makes departures unlikely in January, the Australian conceded now is his chance to cast an eye over the squad.

Postecoglou added: “From my perspective, this is the time when I am getting an opportunity to make all these assessments because if you lump it all into one and look at previous exposure here at the club, that’s not really relevant to me.

“It’s what I see from now on and how the players feel themselves about playing the football that I want and whether they see themselves fitting into that.

I haven't come across him, but I have been a great admirer of his coaching

Ange Postecoglou on Unai Emery

“It hasn’t happened by design but I am certainly going to get a good look at everyone.”

Meanwhile, Postecoglou heaped praise on opposite number Emery for turning Villa into top-four contenders inside 12 months.

“I haven’t come across him, but I have been a great admirer of his coaching,” Postecoglou revealed.

“He came over here and the experience (with Arsenal) didn’t deter him in any way. He didn’t lose any belief in who he is as a manager.

“He has turned Villa around very, very quickly and you have got to remember what position they were in.

“I have looked at his teams and they have always been very well organised and structured, with a clear identity.

“And he has transferred that across three different countries. He is a quality manager.”

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