Giovani Lo Celso set for Spurs start but Tanguy Ndombele likely to leave

Giovani Lo Celso has been linked with a move elsewhere but has impressed his new manager and will play at Fulham.

George Sessions
Monday 28 August 2023 12:00 BST
Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele have endured contrasting fortunes back at Tottenham this summer (John Walton/PA)
Giovani Lo Celso and Tanguy Ndombele have endured contrasting fortunes back at Tottenham this summer (John Walton/PA)

Tottenham head coach Ange Postecoglou has confirmed Giovani Lo Celso will feature in Tuesday’s Carabao Cup tie at Fulham, but the door appears closed on any Tanguy Ndombele comeback.

Lo Celso and Ndombele both signed for Spurs in big-money moves during the summer of 2019, but have spent the majority of the last four years out on loan.

Postecoglou’s June arrival provided everyone with a clean slate and, while Lo Celso came off the bench at Bournemouth on Saturday to make his first competitive Tottenham appearance in 18 months, Ndombele is in a different boat.

Ndombele is part of a group alongside five other first-teamers who have not featured in any of the Australian’s three matchday squads and they could all leave the club before the summer transfer window shuts at 11pm on Friday.

“Gio’s been a bit unlucky. He did well when he came on for us. I thought all the subs did really well just to help us control the game,” Postecoglou reflected.

“We’ve got a game Tuesday night and he’ll play. It will be, for want of a better word, a fun week. We’ve got plenty going on for sure.

“I’m just dealing with what’s in front of me. Unless I get told otherwise, I’ll work with the group I’ve got and focus on Tuesday night.”

Ex-Spurs captain Hugo Lloris, Djed Spence, Eric Dier, Japhet Tanganga and Sergio Reguilon are the players alongside Ndombele who have yet to be involved this season.

Tottenham are eager to find new homes either permanently or temporarily for the six players given the club currently have a squad of 31 aged 21 or over.

Spurs must submit a list of 25 players to the Premier League on September 13 for the first half of the season and everything points towards Ndombele being elsewhere by that point.

It will be, for want of a better word, a fun week. We’ve got plenty going on for sure.

Ange Postecoglou on the transfer window closing

Asked specifically about Ndombele, Postecoglou admitted: “Tanguy is in a boat with a few other guys. I said the other day that we’ve got five or six players more than we can name on a list.

“All these things come down to decisions that people make, whether it’s individual players, whether it’s myself.

“I’m sure this week those kind of things will work themselves out. Tanguy’s still training, he’s working hard at training, but that midfield area, we’re going really well at the minute.

“You saw the guys who started, (Oliver) Skippy’s been really good, Pierre (Hojbjerg) and Gio have been training well.

“It’s been pretty competitive in that area. I think this week a lot of those things I expect to get resolved.”

Postecoglou could line-up with a midfield three of Skipp, Hojbjerg and Lo Celso at Fulham, but he is not expected to make wholesale changes.

Guglielmo Vicario may still feature in goal while captain Son Heung-min and Richarlison are likely to play up front.

Richarlison will be desperate to score after three games without a goal and will face old boss Marco Silva but Postecoglou scoffed at the notion of trying to play the Brazilian into form.

“No, I pick teams that I think will win games,” he said.

“I will put Richy in the team because I think we can win the game with him in the team, not because I am trying to get him into a certain space.

“We want to win games of football and we want to play the game a certain way. Every time I pick a team that is all that’s in my head.

“I love winning. I don’t care if it is a cup competition, playing in the car park or on a rooftop. We just need to go out there and try to win.”

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