Wednesday 13 November 2019

Spurs sweat on Assou-Ekotto fitness after knee injury

Ben Rumsby

TOTTENHAM were still waiting to discover today how long Benoit Assou-Ekotto would face on the sidelines amid fears he could be ruled out for up to a month.

Left-back Assou-Ekotto missed Andre Villas-Boas' first win in charge at Reading on Sunday with a knee problem that may require a 'washout' procedure, ruling him out for around four weeks.

Losing Assou-Ekotto, who has barely missed a match in the last four seasons, would be seen as a blow to Spurs' hopes of building on their opening Premier League victory this term and of progressing in both the Carling Cup and Europa League.

But Kyle Naughton proved an able deputy at the Madejski Stadium, while Jan Vertonghen has played numerous times at left-back for Belgium.

Either could be asked to fill in there for Tottenham's Europa League opener against Lazio on Thursday.

The Group J match is Spurs' first ever competitive meeting with the Italians, to whom they famously sold Paul Gascoigne 20 years ago.

The draw last month prompted Lazio to offer to invite the former England midfielder to the reverse fixture in Rome on November 22.

It is understood Tottenham also invited the 45-year-old to attend Thursday's match but he was unable to accept for personal reasons.

Gascoigne has struggled to deal with alcohol problems since retirement but his agent said this summer that he had embarked on a health drive.

It remains to be seen whether he will attend the game between the sides at the Stadio Olimpico.

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