LONDON • Tottenham Hotspur winger Erik Lamela has returned to former club Roma for treatment, after becoming frustrated by the progress of a hip injury, manager Mauricio Pochettino revealed on Friday.
The 24-year-old has not played since Spurs' 2-1 League Cup defeat by Liverpool on Oct 25 and spent a week in Argentina last month visiting his hospitalised brother.
Despite subsequently returning to London, he has missed Spurs' run of five successive Premier League wins (including the 2-0 triumph over leaders Chelsea on Wednesday) and Pochettino decided a change of scenery would be beneficial.
He said: "It's always difficult for players who spend a lot of time (out) and with the energy of the team, sometimes he is frustrated he cannot be involved today, as it's only him out of the group."
Lamela, who has travelled to Rome with a Tottenham physio, joined Spurs from Roma in a reported £25.7 million (S$45.4 million) deal in 2013.
FA CUP 3RD ROUND
Selected results (Roman numerals denote division of non-Premier League clubs)
Manchester United 4 Reading (II) 0
Bolton (III) 0 Crystal Palace 0
Everton 1 Leicester 2
Hull City 2 Swansea 0
Millwall (III) 3 Bournemouth 0
Norwich (II) 2 Southampton 2
Stoke 0 Wolverhampton (II) 2
Sunderland 0 Burnley 0
West Brom 1 Derby County (II) 2
Preston North End (II) v Arsenal Late kick-off
"He has a special link with the physios and doctors in Rome, so thank you to Roma for opening the door to him," said Pochettino.
Lamela is the only confirmed absentee for today's FA Cup third-round tie at home to second-tier Aston Villa, but Pochettino is expected to rest several first-team players.
Fringe players Vincent Janssen, Kieran Trippier, Ben Davies and Harry Winks are among those in contention to start.
Last year, Pochettino vowed to sing a duet with chairman Daniel Levy if Spurs won the FA Cup and he made a similar pledge ahead of this season's tournament.
"It cannot be the same because I think it is bad luck to say if we win we will sing on the pitch with Daniel," the manager said. "Maybe we find another challenge, no? Maybe I try to dance. Why not? Anything you ask me, if we win it or the Premier League, I will do in the middle of the pitch, no problem."
TOTTENHAM V ASTON VILLA
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