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Spurs: Antonio Conte drops early team news hint

Tottenham Hotspur could be without the services of Cristian Romero for their Premier League meeting with AFC Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.

What’s the latest?

Speaking to SPURSPLAY after training on Friday, Antonio Conte suggested that, despite being available for the trip to the Vitality Stadium, the centre-back may be left out of his starting XI against the Cherries, as the 24-year-old “needed to recover better” after starting against Sporting Lisbon on Wednesday – something the 53-year-old manager claimed was a “big risk”.

Regarding the current condition of the Argentina international, as well as Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg, the Italian said: “First of all, we have taken a big, big risk [to play Romero and Hojbjerg vs Sporting], especially for Cuti, because he was really tired, and we risked a lot.

“You know, in this type of game, you have to take some risks, and the player gave us the availability to play. Now, we have to try to manage him very well, because he played and finished the game with great will and great desire. For this reason, I had to say thanks to him and Pierre.

“I think Cuti needed to recover better, but Pierre is okay 100% [for Bournemouth]. Cuti is okay, but we have another important game on Tuesday, and, for this reason, we try to make the best decision for him.”

Huge loss

Considering just how impressive Romero has been for Tottenham since his initial switch from Atalanta last summer – a move that Spurs turned into a £42.5m permanent deal this August – being without the services of the centre-back this afternoon would undoubtedly be a huge loss for Conte and his side.

Indeed, over his 22 Premier League appearances in 2021/22, the £68.5m-rated talent was in astonishing defensive form, helping his side to keep five clean sheets, as well as 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 Argentine also impressed with the ball at his feet, enjoying an average of 73.8 touches per game, in addition to completing 51.9 passes – at a success rate of 87% – 2.6 long balls, 0.3 key passes and 0.4 dribbles per fixture – highlighting his ability to both play and carry the ball out from the back.

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

It has been a similar story over the 24-year-old’s eight league outings in the current campaign, with Romero helping his side keep one clean sheet, as well as making an average of 2.4 tackles, 1.5 interceptions, 2.8 clearances and winning 5.4 duels – at a success rate of 59% – per game.

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These metrics have seen the centre-back average an impressive SofaScore match rating of 6.94, currently ranking him as Conte’s joint seventh-best performer in the Premier League.

As such, it is evident just how integral a part of the Tottenham defence Romero is, leading us at Football FanCast to believe that the defender’s potential absence against Bournemouth would come as a huge loss to Conte and his side – especially considering the fact that Spurs are desperate to get back to winning ways after going three games without a victory.

Article title: Spurs: Antonio Conte drops early team news hint

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