Antonio Conte might have to rest £180k-a-week Tottenham star after World Cup stat emerges – opinion
Nearly half of his first-team squad went to the World Cup in Qatar, and have returned after varying levels of game time.
With both players likely to be emotionally exhausted for very different reasons, Conte has to decide whether they both start on Boxing Day.
Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Son Heung-min are both back in training which will be a big boost.
Son demonstrating in Qatar he can play through a fractured eye socket is another positive.
One player who might need a rest after the World Cup is Ivan Perisic.
Perisic missed just 19 minutes of Croatia’s entire campaign in Qatar, totaling more than 10 hours of football.
According to journalist Ben Browning, no outfield player from the Premier League played more than the Croatian.
It gives Conte a dilemma about whether to throw him straight back into team, or if he needs to be eased back into action.
Perisic might need a rest after World Cup exploits
The £180,000-a-week wing-back has established himself as one of Tottenham’s key players since signing from Inter Milan in July.
He’s been played in a number of roles, including on both wings and as a forward alongside Harry Kane.
If Perisic had played this much football for Tottenham in such a short space of time, Conte would certainly consider resting him.
Spurs are also relying on Croatia looking after Perisic as well as they would have between games.
Conte’s conundrum isn’t helped by Ryan Sessegnon not featuring in any of Tottenham’s mid-season break friendlies.
Sessegnon picked up an injury against Nottingham Forest last month, and only started training again last week.
It forced Conte to give Djed Spence a run out on the left against Peterborough, which may offer him a route into the side.
Conte will be keen for the Croatian to report back to training quickly to assess his fitness.
Starting on Boxing Day, Spurs have seven matches in just under four weeks.
The Italian will be starting to look at which games Perisic might be allowed to have a rest in that time.
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