Dele Alli drops to the bench in one of three changes made by Jose Mourinho after Thursday’s 1-0 win at Fulham.
The England international made only his second Premier League start of the season in midweek but is listed among the substitutes alongside Ben Davies and Tanguy Ndombele, with Sergio Reguilon, Harry Winks and Lucas Moura recalled.
Palace are able to welcome Wilfried Zaha back into the squad after a hamstring injury but he is only on the bench.
Good evening, Sergio Reguilon has had an interesting start to life in English football
Sergio Reguilon’s introduction to England has included cricket, language lessons and now being at the centre of a row between TV pundits. Welcome to the Premier League.
The Spanish left-back was the case in point when Jamie Redknapp and Roy Keane were getting angry with each other while assessing Tottenham Hotspur’s squad minus their match-winning attacking partnership of Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.
Redknapp suggests Reguilon would be one player who would get into the top teams, which Keane eventually agrees with after asking why Real Madrid would let him go last summer. The answer was that they needed to balance the books, and had Marcelo and Ferland Mendy in his position.
“This is his opinion, but for me, we have a lot of top class players that can play in every team,” said Reguilon.
“For me, we have the best players, that’s my opinion. But thank you Jamie for defending me. It was so funny. He was really angry. I watched that and smiled a lot.”
Redknapp’s frustration may have something to do with Jose Mourinho’s team falling short of expectations at times this season. They face Crystal Palace today in the return fixture from December when Spurs were top of the Premier League.
There have been too many dropped points since and they face a battle to get in to the Champions League places, while Keane’s underlying theme to his criticism is that they rely on Kane and Son, with little other support.
Spurs do have Dele Alli coming back into the picture after being the latest player Mourinho has been at loggerheads with during his career.
Some, like Tanguy Ndombele, find a way back and Alli has taken small steps in the last fortnight.
Gareth Bale is also finding form. He and Reguilon shared a private jet from Madrid to London when Spurs made their summer move for the pair.
“Gareth is, for me, a top player. Now I think this is the best performances because his body is different. He needs more training, more work to be fit, but now is his best moment in Tottenham,” said Reguilon, whose arrival was low profile compared to Bale’s return seven years after leaving for the Santiago Bernabéu. Yet the full-back settled into the season much more quickly, and was soon a key part of the team that reached the summit.
Mourinho condemned Reguilon for a Christmas party with team-mates, breaking coronavirus rules. His frustration was compounded by his festive gift to a player who was in a new country on his own. “An amazing gift – a Portuguese piglet, which is amazing for Portuguese and Spanish,” Mourinho said.
He has returned from a month out through injury to help push for the top-four places, helped by victories over Burnley and Fulham last week.
“Now the feeling is that we can arrive in the top four in the league because we have a very good squad, and we try to win every match,” he said.
“We want to go match to match, three points by three points and by the end of the season we can be in the top four. We know that it’s difficult, but I think we have the players to get it.”
His integration at Spurs has seen him try indoor cricket in the gym at the club’s training ground, although he says he does not understand the rules.
Taking English lessons twice a week has also filled his time during lockdown, and he looks back at his first year with no regrets.
“Why did I join? Because in the summer I had a big decision and with all the clubs on the table, I chose Tottenham. Because their proposal, the team, the league, the club, the city – there are too many factors that said yes,” he said. “Because of Gareth also.
“And the gaffer for me was very important. And the personnel at the club, with (chairman, Daniel) Levy and with Jose and everything – it was very important.”
By Mike McGrath
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