Antonio Conte has provided confirmation and clarity on the injury status of three Tottenham Hotspur players who participated in the World Cup today. Previous reporting had suggested that Ben Davies, Rodrigo Bentancur, and Richarlison had all picked up injuries of various severity while playing for their national teams in Qatar.
In quotes from SpursPLAY today posted on Tottenham’s website, Conte said that Davies has fully recovered from a knock picked up while playing for Wales, Bentancur will be back very soon, and Richarlison is still an open question, though it appears he’ll be out at least a month.
“Ben Davies is okay and started to work with us last week. He has recovered.
“Rodrigo has started to work. I think that he’s going to be good for the game against Aston Villa. For Richy, tomorrow he’s going to have an MRI (scan) to know very well the importance of the injury. After tomorrow we will see very well the time he needs to recover.”
So this isn’t really especially new information — all of these updates are things that we thought we knew already from news organizations close to Tottenham. What’s notable here is only that Conte is now confirming it.
It does suggest that we’re likely going to see Davies in the back three on Boxing Day vs. Brentford. Clement Lenglet, Eric Dier, and Davinson Sanchez are the other three central defenders who could be used for that match. If Dier’s ready to go, he’ll likely start centrally with Davies or Lenglet on the left and Davinson on the right. Cristian Romero, I would assume, will be too busy drinking mate in Buenos Aires with his World Cup winners medal around his neck and a big goofy smile on his face to play against Brentford, and fair play to him.
Bentancur will miss Brentford, but he would anyway as he was suspended for this match due to yellow card accumulation. That likely means a central midfield pairing of Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg and Yves Bissouma (assuming a 4-3-3), though Oliver Skipp could also be in the frame either as a substitute or if Conte decides to mix the formation up.
As for Richarlison, we know he’s set to miss at least a month of action, though the MRI Conte references might clarify that somewhat, assuming that information leaks to the press.
It’s not the most ideal way to start what figures to be a huge second half of the Premier League season for Tottenham Hotspur. Brentford isn’t necessarily a great team, but they are definitely a dangerous one and playing them away could be a tricky tie.