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Ange Postecoglou has hinted opportunities for his fringe players could be on the horizon ahead of a busy week for Tottenham.
Spurs return to action after the international break with a Monday night clash at home to Fulham and face a quick turnaround with a trip to Crystal Palace four days later.
Yves Bissouma is suspended for the visit of Fulham, which should see Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg earn a first Premier League start this season, and Postecoglou has also urged fit-again Giovani Lo Celso, Bryan Gil and Brennan Johnson to be ready if called upon.
“We’ve got a Monday night game and then we back it up with a Friday night game, so we’ll probably need a good deal of the squad to do those two games,” the Spurs boss explained.
“As good as we’ve been, there are still a few players like Brennan, (Rodrigo) Bentancur, Gil and Lo Celso who haven’t really played at all for us yet.
“Having them back, even in terms of training and raising the level, they are the things that will give us the focus to maintain and keep improving the performances.
“When there is competitiveness around the squad in training and playing, that guards against any complacency or anyone feeling comfortable about things.”
Bentancur is still “weeks” away from returning to first-team action after his anterior cruciate ligament injury in February, but Lo Celso will aim to make an impact over the next week.
Lo Celso was linked with a move away from Tottenham at the start of the summer before Postecoglou made clear his desire to keep the Argentinian, who then sustained a muscle issue in his only start of the campaign at Fulham in the Carabao Cup in August.
The midfielder is fit again now and made substitute appearances for Argentina against Paraguay and Peru during the international break.
Postecoglou said: “He is obviously very highly regarded within the Argentinian set-up because they always call him up and he played in both games.
“He didn’t play significant minutes but he played in both and played 15 to 20 in the second game. It is great for him and his confidence.
“Unfortunately he had a disrupted early part of the season but again another player we haven’t had a contribution from and that’s a pleasing thing for us.”
Postecoglou will hope to see Gil begin to contribute too following his return to full fitness after surgery on his groin in August.
The Australian admitted Gil’s influence is even more critical with Ivan Perisic (ACL) and Manor Solomon (knee) out until 2024.
“Bryan can be really important for us,” Postecoglou insisted.
“It has been great to have him just working really hard at training. He’s missed all of this season so far and it’s well chronicled that we lost Ivan and Manor, who play in that left-wing position.
“Having Bryan fit and available again is great for us. He’s, I guess, in the same boat as everyone else because at some point he’ll be afforded an opportunity and then it’s up to him.
“He certainly has all the criteria and credentials to play in that position for us and, like I said, his training is getting stronger now, he’s part of the group and I’m sure he’ll get an opportunity.”
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