Cristian Stellini will name his first Tottenham starting XI as acting head coach for the trip to Everton and injuries will dictate much of his team selection.
The 48-year-old Italian took over from his long-time boss and compatriot Antonio Conte this week, until the end of the season, having been his assistant over the years back in their homeland and then at the north London outfit. Stellini’s first task is to try to give Spurs’ top four hopes a big boost with a positive performance against Sean Dyche’s side, who are scrapping for the Premier League life.
Injuries have hit Tottenham’s squad hard with Rodrigo Bentancur, Yves Bissouma and Ryan Sessegnon joined by Emerson Royal, Richarlison and Ben Davies in the treatment room before and during the international break.
One returning face though is captain Hugo Lloris, who has been training during the international break after seven weeks out with a knee injury and he played 45 minutes of a training ground friendly against Ipswich last week. Conte had said that as soon as the French World Cup winner was fit again he would return between the sticks despite Fraser Forster’s good displays in his absence. Stellini will have to decide whether to stick to that plan or give Lloris a little bit more time to fine tune and get sharp.
Ivan Perisic took a knock in midweek for Croatia but Stellini told football.london on Friday that the 34-year-old had trained that day and was fit.
Elsewhere the team picks itself and there is likely to be space on the bench for some youngsters because of the sheer volume of injuries, with Alfie Devine and Romaine Mundle both full first team squad members now and they could find themselves among the substitutes at Goodison Park.
The versatile 19-year-old Matthew Craig, who can play in midfield or defence and as a full-back, has been training with the team this week along with other youngsters. He could take another place on the bench, having done so in the Premier League in the final five matches of last season and in the Europa Conference League earlier in the campaign.
Here is the team we reckon Stellini will select:
Lloris; Romero, Dier, Lenglet; Porro, Skipp, Hojbjerg, Perisic; Kulusevski, Kane, Son.