Nabil Bentaleb is back! Sort of. Tottenham Hotspur's French-Algerian central midfielder has been named to Christian Gourcuff's Algeria national team squad for two upcoming World Cup qualifiers during this week's international break, despite not playing for Spurs for the past 12 weeks.
Bentaleb posted a selfie on his Instagram account en route to Algeria to join up with his international teammates:
Mauricio Pochettino has recently hinted that Bentaleb is close to a return for Tottenam, but isn't match fit. So if you're a Spurs fan this is either great news or terrible news. If you're an optimist, Nabil's call-up potentially means that he can regain some of his lost match fitness in a couple of relatively meaningless international fixtures where if he screws up he can't hurt Spurs' top four ambitions. If you're a pessimist, then you don't want Nabil anywhere close to an international match when he's only just returning from a major injury, and the international break is just the worst thing ever.
I lean toward the optimistic view. Nabil hasn't played competitive football in 12 matches, and his early appearances for Spurs were a mixed bag. Meanwhile, Spurs have not only coped without him, they've thrived. That's not to say that Nabil isn't or can't be a starter for Spurs, but considering how Eric Dier, Dele Alli, and Mousa Dembele have played in his absence, it'll take a while for him to crack back into the lineup. So why not let him shake off the rust in Algeria?
Both of the Fennec Foxes' World Cup qualification matches are against Tanzania: away on Saturday, November 14, and home on Tuesday, November 17.