Nuno Espirito Santo insisted that his job is not to convince unsettled players like Tanguy Ndombele to play for Tottenham Hotspur.
Spurs are already dealing with one player who wants out in the shape of Harry Kane, who is keen to join Manchester City this summer. And it is understood that Ndombele also wants to exit this summer having been frozen out by new boss Nuno. As such, his future at the club looks in doubt.
The Frenchman, who cost a club-record £55million from Lyon in 2019, has never hit the heights in north London, despite flashes of brilliance. He has had difficulties with Mauricio Pochettino, Jose Mourinho, Ryan Mason and now Nuno.
After not even including him in any matchday squads for three pre-season friendlies, even though he had no international football this summer, Nuno said that it was not the right moment for the 24-year-old to be considered for selection.
He was subsequently left out of the opening Premier League match against Manchester City last weekend. Then, he suffered an even bigger slap in the face by being left out of the 25-man squad for the Europa Conference League play-off tie with Pacos de Ferreira.
Spurs lost the first leg 1-0 on Thursday with a second-string XI that consisted of two teenagers. Even then, Ndombele was still not considered.
Nuno raised the issue of motivation when asked why the former Lyon man is not being selected.
“What happened in the past I can’t even think about, I don’t mention out of respect,” he said. “What I can tell you is that Tanguy is with us, he works but we have to speak honestly and to take the best out of Tanguy (it) has to come from himself.
“It has to come from himself. I don’t want to go much further than that but it has to come from himself.
“We already had a chance to talk but it must come from himself. I said it before, my job here is not to convince players to play for Tottenham Hotspur; it is to prepare players to play for Tottenham Hotspur.”
Nuno has already confirmed that Ndombele will not be in the squad for Tottenham’s game against Wolves on Sunday.
Spurs to make Kane decision
As for the Kane issue, Nuno made it clear that it would be a joint decision between him and his striker whether he is involved in Sunday’s trip to Molineux.
The England captain has stepped up his training this week following his late return from holiday. But there should be no physical issues as to why he would not be involved.
Asked who would make the call, Nuno said: “Me and Harry.”
He added on Friday: “He trained well today. He is better than yesterday. It is a growing process. Each day he goes on the pitch he improves his fitness.
“It is a decision we are going to take tomorrow.
“There is not much more than I can add that I have not already said.”
On whether Kane’s selection would be based solely on fitness, Nuno added: “Everything, everything, not only with Harry but with all the players.
“We had issues with the match yesterday. The players are recovering. We have to measure all the things with all the players, and Harry is one more situation where we have to think and decide.”
Nuno also urged his players to take up the offer of a coronavirus vaccine as the Premier League returns to a degree of normality this season.
“The pandemic is still with us and we’re learning to live with that,” he said.
“I respect all the personal choices – each and every one of us should decide – but I’m in favour of the vaccine and I would (encourage) all the players to get the vaccine, that allows maybe this freedom of when the players want to celebrate.
“It doesn’t mean you’re totally free from contracting the virus but it gives you more safety. So I’m truly in favour of the vaccine.
“But now fans are back it’s very difficult to control the emotions of the players. If they score and they want to go in the crowd, how can you stop it?”
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