Giovani Lo Celso has only recently gotten back to the point where he’s available to be selected for Tottenham Hotspur matches. Naturally, that means he’s been called up by the Argentina national team during the upcoming international break at the end of January.
If you want a silver lining, there’s this — Cuti Romero is a notable omission from Argentina’s list. Tottenham manager Antonio Conte has said, repeatedly, that we should not expect Romero (or Son Heung-Min) back in the Spurs fold until after the break.
On the one hand, getting Gio some first team minutes when he’s still not back up to full fitness sounds like a good idea, if only in theory. On the other hand, the last time Gio — and Cuti for that matter — played for Argentina they both picked up long-term injuries.
Argentina has already qualified for the World Cup next winter, so there’s not much reason to play their best players in the upcoming qualification matches against Chile and Colombia. That said, I have absolutely no doubt that Gio will play the maximum number of minutes possible for Argentina and absolutely no confidence that he won’t come back hurt again, because that seems to be his modus operands when he gets called up. So yeah, I’m worried.
If you want to be a conspiracy theorist, you could suggest that Spurs have been deliberately slow-walking Romero’s return to the first team specifically to avoid him being called up. I don’t actually believe that — I think they’re slow-walking his return because they’re just being super careful and don’t want to scupper his rehab. But with Gio, there’s not much we can do except wrap him in bubble wrap and tell him to be careful. Or maybe have Conte put in an extremely direct call to Lionel Scaloni.