Mauricio Pochettino says Tottenham 'won't risk' unfit World Cup stars in Premier League opener
By Ron Walker
Last Updated: 01/08/18 1:13pm
Mauricio Pochettino insists Tottenham will not risk their World Cup stars in their Premier League opener at Newcastle if they are not back to full fitness.
Tottenham are still without Hugo Lloris, Jan Vertonghen, Toby Alderweireld, Mousa Dembele, Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane after their involvement in Russia and will return to club training for the first time on Monday.
After Tottenham's 1-0 win over AC Milan in their final game of the International Champions Cup in the USA, Pochettino conceded they are facing a "massive challenge" on player fitness ahead of the Newcastle game, which is live on Sky Sports Premier League on August 11 from 11.30am.
He said: "First we need to assess them on Monday and see what happens. Maybe some players look after themselves and they've been training, maybe others rest, we need to see and of course we are not going to take risks if some players are not ready to compete, to play, they are not going to be involved at the weekend. That is so, so clear.
"I make clear today the statement that if someone is not ready, he's not going to be involved because we are not going to take risks.
"Of course it's not our fault. It's the reality that happens and pushes us to take some decisions that sure maybe doesn't help the team from the beginning but we need to help some players because after the World Cup, minimum 20 days they need to rest and stop thinking about football.
"That is the reality that is for us is a massive challenge, because for us it never happened before and we need to be careful."
Luke Amos was one of the Tottenham youngsters to impress during their US tour and could be in line for a first competitive appearance in a Spurs shirt if the midfielder's more senior team-mates are not ready to start the Premier League season.
"Football is about energy, about desire, about respect for yourself and your teammates, being professional. Luke Amos is a good example," Pochettino said.
"He played three games, and he's not so young at 21. Maybe he doesn't have the Premier League experience but his performances in the three games showed it's not a problem to put him to play.
"Maybe he's going to play ahead of some senior players. I'm more than brave and if I believe in some players I go with all the consequences."