Injury Update: Ange boost as 95% Tottenham star pushes for injury return, could play v Man United

It looks as though things are slowly falling into place for Tottenham and Ange Postecoglou, who could have the luxury of naming his two first-choice central defenders against Manchester United.

It has been over two months since Micky van de Ven and Cristian Romero featured in a Spurs shirt alongside each other.

On that occasion, a 4-1 home defeat against Chelsea (6 November), neither player emerged for the second half as van de Ven pulled up injured while Romero was shown red in an action-packed first half.

It looks as though things are slowly falling into place for Tottenham and Ange Postecoglou, who could have the luxury of naming his two first-choice central defenders against Manchester United.

It has been over two months since Micky van de Ven and Cristian Romero featured in a Spurs shirt alongside each other.

On that occasion, a 4-1 home defeat against Chelsea (6 November), neither player emerged for the second half as van de Ven pulled up injured while Romero was shown red in an action-packed first half.

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Postecoglou and his team have felt the repercussions of these two incidents ever since. After finally having Romero available for selection again following his three-match suspension, Spurs’ results began to pick up.

Nonetheless, disaster struck once more when the Argentina international was forced off at half-time with an injury in the 2-1 home win against Everton (23 December).

The initial indications following his dismissal against the Toffees weren’t positive. In quotes from Fabrizio Romano’s official X platform (27 December), Postecoglou told the media, “Romero had a scan and he’s got a hamstring strain. We’re looking at four to five weeks with him.”

However, just two weeks on from that revelation, The Athletic’s Spurs correspondent, Charlie Eccleshare has revealed (10 January) that the 25-year-old could make a return sooner than anticipated, perhaps as early as Sunday 14 January when Posteoglou and his players travel to Old Trafford to take on Manchester United, with Romero himself “pushing for a return.”

If the World Cup-winning defender is available, this would be a game-changing boost.

His first-half performance before his injury against Everton demonstrated just how crucial he is to the north London club.

As per Sofascore, Romero made one tackle, blocked one shot, made one interception, and completed 95 per cent of his passes. In addition, he won two of his three ground duels and played four accurate long balls forward during the 45 minutes he spent on the pitch.

Tottenham conceded six goals during Romero’s three-match suspension, failing to win once in that time. That number was reduced to just four in the four matches the Argentinian was available for following his suspension, a run of matches which saw Spurs keep their first clean sheet since 23 October in their 2-0 win away at Nottingham Forest (15 December).

After losing him once more, this time to injury, Spurs conceded as many goals in the first match they played without him as they had in their previous four, losing 4-2 against Brighton at the Amex Stadium (28 December).

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Romero is a key component of Spurs’ success, and his numbers back that up.

As per fbref, the centre-back ranks in the top four per cent of his positional peers in the Premier League this season for the number of tackles he has won (1.69 per 90), and the top two per cent for the number of dribblers he has tackled (1.31 per 90).

He ranks in the top seven per cent for the number of ball recoveries he has made (6.85 per 90) and the top seven per cent when his tackle and interception totals are combined (3.77 per 90).

His ability with a ball at his feet makes him a crucial part of Postecoglou’s possession-based system at Spurs.

Romero ranks in the top nine per cent of Premier League centre-backs this season for the number of passes he has completed (77.85 per 90), the top nine per cent for the number of these passes which have been into the penalty area (0.62 per 90) and the top four per cent for his total progressive passes (6.46 per 90), demonstarting his ability to get the ball forward, something which is crucial to the way Tottenham play.

If Romero is back for the trip to Old Trafford, and van de Ven starts alongside him, it could completely change the club’s fortunes this weekend.