Tottenham injury crisis deepens as Dejan Kulusevski out vs Aston Villa

Premier League returns: Tottenham's mid-season review

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Tottenham’s injury crisis has been worsened ahead of their New Year’s Day home fixture with Aston Villa, as winger Dejan Kulusevski was ruled out of the clash and needs a scan on an ankle issue. Boss Antonio Conte has been forced to name Bryan Gil in the starting lineup instead, as Kulusevski joins several of his team-mates on the treatment table.

Conte surprised fans by not naming the Sweden star in his squad to face Aston Villa on Sunday, but it was soon revealed that he is missing due to a slight muscle injury, which Sky Sports then claimed was in his ankle.

He is set to have a scan on his ankle on Monday, though Spurs are hopeful that the 22-year-old will only miss one game with the knock and could return for Wednesday’s trip to Crystal Palace.

The Italian boss was also without Richarlison and Rodrigo Bentancur, as the duo returned from the World Cup with injuries that has kept them out of both of Spurs’ Premier League games since the tournament concluded, while Lucas Moura also remains out of action.

The Brazilian striker, who starred for his country in a central role in Qatar, is facing several more weeks on the sideline after picking up a hamstring injury in the quarter-final defeat to Croatia, having played on and potentially aggrevated the strain he suffered int he warm-up to the game.

Bentancur also remains unavailable, as Conte confirmed before the game that he is set for a scan to determine the severity of the thigh problem he picked up at the World Cup with Uruguay, as Yves Bissouma continues to partner Pierre Emile Hojbjerg in midfield.

Gil was handed his first-ever Premier League start in the absences of Kulusevski, Richarlison and Lucas, while Conte also opted to drop Eric Dier from the team that came back to draw 2-2 with Brentford on Boxing Day.

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