Spurs boss provides update on Erik Lamela’s injury and World Cup hopes
PUBLISHED: 22:40 11 April 2014 | UPDATED: 22:50 11 April 2014
Tim Sherwood is not expecting Erik Lamela to appear for Tottenham before the end of the season, and he admits the Argentine’s World Cup hopes are in doubt.
Lamela arrived from Roma last summer for £26million and, after initially struggling to make an impact, the 22-year-old suffered a thigh problem and then a back injury.
That has ruled him out since December so the midfielder is yet to appear for Spurs in 2014, and Sherwood admits he might have to wait until next season to don the Lilywhite shirt again.
“He isn’t fit to play,” said the head coach. “He’s been unfortunate with injuries and it’s a shame that he’s picked up the knocks because, taking the settling-in period aside, how are you meant to settle when you can’t go out there and perform because you’ve had this serious back injury?
“He’s probably not going to play this season. It looks that way, he’s been out a very long time. He’s going to need a pre-season before he can play.
“Does that rule him out of the World Cup? I don’t know. It’s up to their [Argentina’s] manager and if they think he needs to play any competitive games previous to that. I think it comes down to how sought-after he is out there by the manager.
“Would I have a problem with him going to the World Cup? Certainly not. He needs the games doesn’t he? And next season he comes back in and he’s in a better place.
“He’s about and he’s making progress. He had some treatment from the Roma physios and our guys, and I think he’s been pretty much everywhere. It’s a similar injury to [Vlad] Chiriches and we’re pleased to have him back so our guys have done a good job with Chiriches.”
While Sherwood admits that Lamela’s long-term injury has undermined his attempts to find his feet at Spurs, he hopes there is a silver lining – that the youngster is able to get acclimatised to his new life in England away from the limelight.
“Recently he’s taken a back seat,” said Sherwood. “He’s been out of the spotlight and he’s not having to be not selected and he’s not having to not play well or play well.
“He’s basically been out of the picture because of his injury. Hopefully he’s using this time to learn English and that will stand him in good stead when he’s eventually fit.”
Kyle Walker has also spent the last month in the treatment room due to a pelvic injury and will be fighting to be fit as the World Cup approaches.
Asked when the right-back might return, Sherwood replied: “I haven’t asked the physios, they don’t know to be honest. I think they’re just taking every day as it comes, seeing how he feels when he comes in, seeing if it feels any better.
“I think it’s improving. It’s certainly not going the other way but he’s got to train – it’s been a long time.
“I’m not sure if surgery was ever an option or whether it’s going to be. I think it’s just a case of maintaining it, strengthening it and seeing how he gets on.
“He seems to be bubbly in himself. He’s desperate to go to Brazil and play in the World Cup and I’m confident we’re going to see him out there.”
Despite his faith that Walker will be ready to play for England this summer, Sherwood says it is important not to rush players back into action too quickly.
“I always point to this fact - in the close season we have six weeks off and then we come back and we do six weeks of pre-season,” said Sherwood.
“Some of these guys are out for 10 to 12 weeks during the season and we expect them to be fit after a week.
“Now if that’s the science then they should only need a week’s training in pre-season and we’re all happy, we get a longer holiday, but it obviously isn’t.
“If you start rushing people back after a week, they are going to break down with something else. It’s a real issue.”
Mousa Dembele also missed the last game against Sunderland and Sherwood said: “He has trained a couple of days. He won’t be ready [to face West Brom] as he hadn’t done the training.
“He’s not had a bad injury but niggles. Now he needs a couple of weeks of solid training to get a run until the end of the season.”
Follow me on Twitter @BenPearceSpurs