Tottenham Hotspur defender Kieran Trippier looks increasingly likely to miss the Premier League opener at Newcastle United this weekend, with the club's medical team still unable to establish the extent of the damage to the England international's ankle. The 26-year-old limped off during Spurs' pre-season win over Juventus and has undergone a scan this week that has proved inconclusive.
Medical staff are still to determine whether or not Trippier has compromised the ligaments in his ankle, as well as identifying how long the former Burnley full-back will be sidelined. The Evening Standard understands it would be a "surprise" for Trippier to be among Pochettino's squad for the start of the new campaign, handing the coach an early selection dilemma in an area of the field he is already low on numbers.
Trippier is understood not to be feeling any significant pain and is optimistic of being fit for the trip to St James' Park on Sunday (13 August), though Tottenham are keen to learn the extent of the blow before declaring him fit to play. The Bury-born right-back was expected to start the season as first choice in his favoured position after the departure of Kyle Walker, but the blow leaves Pochettino will a tough decision to make having yet to sign any players this summer.
As a result, Kyle Walker-Peters is the only natural right-sided defender available to Tottenham – yet Pochettino is unwilling to throw the 20-year-old, who has never made a senior appearance either for his parent club or out on loan, into the breach on the opening weekend of the season. The Londoner replaced Trippier against Juventus and played for the victorious England side at the Under-20 World Cup, but is not deemed ready for a first-team debut.
"He's very young," Pochettino said, according to London.Football, after the 2-0 win over Juve. "It's true that to think and to give the big responsibility like Kieran, it's too much today for him. He's a player that needs to work with us and maybe start to play in different games but we cannot think that he is, in the case of Kieran weeks away from the team, only he can replace him."
That leaves the versatile Eric Dier as the only genuine option available to Tottenham, though it would require him to move from the centre-back role which he occupied for much of the season. That could see Kevin Wimmer start in a back three alongside Toby Alderweireld and Jan Vertonghen, following a summer of speculation regarding his future at the club.
Trippier is braced to join a Tottenham injury list that already includes two other senior players; left-back Danny Rose and winger Erik Lamela, neither of whom are expected to play for the foreseeable future. A knee problem has forced Rose to miss the last eight months, while Lamela has not played since October due to a hip issue.