Steven Bergwijn hasn’t featured in a matchday squad for Tottenham since their first Europa Conference League group game, against Rennes, in the middle of September.
The first international break of the season then interrupted the Premier League, which Spurs went into top after winning their first three games, with Bergwijn starting in all of them.
The 23-year-old picked up an injury during his duties for the Netherlands and hasn’t returned to a matchday squad since.
Nuno Espirito Santo’s side have now gone into their second international break of the season on the back of a 2-1 win against Aston Villa, but that came after a run of three defeats in London derbies.
In the first two fixtures of the season, the Dutch international played in a forward three, alongside Son Heung-min and Lucas Moura, with uncertainty then surrounding Harry Kane’s future at the club amid Manchester City’s interest in signing him.
When the England captain returned to the line-up in the game against Watford, Bergwjin was chosen ahead of the Brazilian and remained in Espirito Santo’s starting XI.
However, he was replaced by Moura in the 68th minute, after not having his best performance. In the games previously, he showed signs of his solid form but it seems to be his final pass and finishing which could do with improvement.
In his pre-match press conference ahead of the Europa Conference League group game against NS Mura, the Tottenham boss was asked if Bergwjin would be available.
“In terms of team news nothing has changed, Steven unfortunately is still out. He cannot join the group.”
In the fixture before that, Espirito Santo gave a bit more detail on the wingers injury, ahead of the North London Derby.
“I explained the injury he has is very painful so he has to settle down the pain…he’s not totally stopped. He’s doing some fitness, some upper body. For now he’s not available,” he explained.
Therefore, it is still unknown how long the Dutchman will be out. He hasn’t been called up for international duty during this break which could be a positive for his season at Spurs, as it gives his ankle the needed rest.
When he returns to full fitness, Bergwijn won’t be able to walk straight back into the starting XI as he now faces competition from his teammates, who are finding their form.
Moura and Son both played in the wide positions of the 4-2-3-1 formation against Aston Villa on Sunday and worked well to create attacking chances for the Lilywhites.
Summer signing Bryan Gil is also an option in the attacking positions and when he has come on as a substitute in the last few fixtures, he has shown the potential he has to become a key player for Spurs.
In the No. 10 role, Giovani Lo Celso, Dele Alli and Tanguy Ndombele will all continue their battle to try and prove to the Portuguese head coach why they deserve a place in the starting line-up, with all three having good spells in matches, but their overall performances have been inconsistent.
Therefore, once Biergwijn is back as an option for Espirito Santo, the Tottenham boss will have to assess how his other players are doing and if he deserves to replace them.
The Dutch international is a skilful and strong player and if he performs well upon his return, then he could take someone’s spot in the regular starting line-up, but only time will tell.
Source by Football London