Tottenham Hotspur boss Nuno Santo has been handed a fresh selection headache heading into their return to Premier League action this weekend.
Young centre-back Joe Rodon is yet to feature for the Portuguese head coach this season, having suffered an injury during pre-season and the 47-year-old knows that he’s a player that is in need of minutes on the pitch.
Speaking ahead of their encounter with his former club, Wolves, Nuno told reporters, via the official website:
“Joe missed the game (at Pacos de Ferreira), and that was disappointing for us because he’s one of the players who needs to play, who needs to get real competition time. He’s better, but not well enough to join us on Sunday.”
But in a fresh update, it has been revealed that the 23-year-old colossus has joined up with his national side, Wales, for their remaining fixtures this international break, which means he would be available for selection against Crystal Palace on Saturday – barring any sudden setbacks.
“‘Following successful rehabilitation, Joe Rodon has joined the squad in Cardiff,’ a statement by the Football Association of Wales read,” tweeted injury analyst Ben Dinnery earlier this week.
The £9m-rated defender played 14 times for Spurs across all competitions last season, following his £11m move from Championship outfit Swansea City, before starting all four of Wales’ matches at Euro 2020, via Transfermarkt.
Rodon is evidently one for the future after club legend Graham Roberts dubbed him as a player with “huge potential”, but just as Nuno claimed last month, he needs minutes, and that leaves the Spurs boss in a tricky predicament, particularly as the partnership of Eric Dier and Davinson Sanchez is yet to concede in the Premier League.
Whilst he will certainly want to get the group stages of the UEFA Europa Conference League off to a good start, so it would be a risk to throw the £24k-per-week gem right into the deep end.
Despite hardly featuring for the Lilywhites in 2020/21, the Wales international was one of the more productive defensive options, registering a squad-high 2.6 interceptions per 90 minutes (next best was whilst also recording the highest passing success rate (88.1%) of anyone at Spurs except Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, as per WhoScored.
His former Swans boss Steve Cooper dubbed him a “pure defender” and a “real asset”, so it must only be a matter of time before he is given an opportunity under Nuno.
Although, it is on the Spurs chief to make that tough call when the time is right. His return does no favours heading into his next starting XI.