Do Not Sell My Personal Information

Spurs: Antonio Conte must unleash Cristian Romero vs Aston Villa

Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Cristian Romero is available for selection for the Premier League meeting with Aston Villa this afternoon.

What’s the latest?

In recent comments cited by the Evening Standard, Antonio Conte revealed that, after missing Spurs’ 2-2 Boxing Day draw with Brentford as a result of his World Cup-winning campaign with Argentina, Romero will be available for selection for the visit of Villa later on today.

Regarding the availability of the defender, Conte said: “Romero is back, yeah. He’s back and he’s available for the Aston Villa game.”

Conte must unleash Romero

Considering just how important a part of the Tottenham starting XI Romero has become since his initial loan switch to the club last summer, should the 24-year-old be anywhere near full fitness, the argument that Conte simply must unleash the centre-back against Villa is an extremely easy one to make.

Indeed, over his 22 Premier League appearances last season, the £71m-rated talent was in astonishing form at the back, helping his side keep five clean sheets, in addition to making an average of 2.8 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, 3.3 clearances and winning 5.9 duels – at a success rate of 62% – per game.

The Argentina international also impressed in possession of the ball, enjoying an average of 73.8 touches per match, as well as playing an average of 2.6 long balls, 0.3 key passes and completing 51.9 passes – at a success rate of 87% – per fixture.

These returns saw the £165k-per-week defender average a breathtaking Sofascore match rating of 7.15, not only ranking him as Conte’s sixth-best performer in the league but also as the joint 31st-best player in the English top flight as a whole last time out.

It has been a similar story over the 24-year-old’s eight Premier League outings in the current campaign, with the centre-back having helped Spurs keep one clean sheet, in addition to making an average of 2.4 tackles, 1.4 interceptions, 2.8 clearances and winning 5.4 duels – at a success rate of 59% – per game.

1 of 20

Who scored Tottenham's first goal of 2022?

These metrics have seen the player who MARCA journalist Juan Di Sciascio dubbed a “little animal” average an extremely impressive Sofascore match rating of 6.94, currently ranking him as Tottenham’s joint eighth-best performer in the league.

As such, with Conte undoubtedly hoping to avoid a repeat of Brentford – when Spurs went 2-0 once again, before salvaging a point in the second half – against Villa this afternoon, the 53-year-old simply must reinstate Romero in his back three, as the World Cup-winner is certainly something of a game-changer at the back for Tottenham.