One of the main talking points of Tottenham Hotspur’s 2-1 victory over newly-promoted Fulham on Saturday was the return of defender Cristian Romero, with the Argentina international having been absent from the last three league games due to injury.
The north London outfit had picked up two wins and a draw during his time on the sidelines – with his replacement Davinson Sanchez having notably impressed – with the 24-year-old potentially fearing for his place as part of Spurs’ back three.
Any fears were no doubt quashed following what was a typically brilliant display from the former Atalanta man against the Cottagers, with it seemingly a marker of both his quality and his importance to the side that he was thrust straight back into the starting XI by manager Antonio Conte.
As presenter Craig Mitch stated, the 11-cap gem simply makes the “team better” when he is on the pitch, with the hosts looking far more settled both in and out of possession as a result of his return against Marco Silva’s side.
Despite a late wobble – in which the in-form Aleksandar Mitrovic pulled a goal back following earlier strikes from Pierre-Emile Hojberg and Harry Kane – Spurs had been largely in control of proceedings, eventually recording 23 shots and 51.7% possession by close of play.
Romero was integral to that dominance as he notably recorded a hugely impressive 96% pass accuracy rate, with Seb Stafford-Bloor insisting that it was “no surprise to see a big leap in the passing quality” due to the centre-back’s return – as well as the inclusion of summer signing Clement Llenglet.
A real leading figure in both a defensive sense and while in possession, the £165k-per-week colossus proved yet again just why he is so integral to Conte’s plans, having only recently been signed on a permanent deal after last season’s stunning loan spell.
Lauded as an “animal” by teammate Pierluigi Gollini, this latest performance was far more measured and composed from the one-time Genoa man, showcasing more to his game than just an aggressive, dogged approach.
While the Lilywhites may have performed well in his absence, this outing was a reminder of just how vital Romero is to the team.