Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Nabil Bentaleb has been named in the Algeria squad for upcoming World Cup qualifiers despite Mauricio Pochettino's concerns over the player's fitness. The 20-year-old has missed Tottenham's last 12 matches with an ankle problem suffered ahead of a match against Sunderland in September.
He was again left out of the squad that beat Anderlecht 2-1 at White Hart Lane on 5 November, with his manager warning in his pre-match press conference that the player is still not fit enough to be considered for first-team selection. "He is not match fit," Pochettino said. "He is in training and he is doing some exercise with the group and some alone. He is close to coming back."
Despite the Argentine's concerns, Algeria manager Christian Gourcuff has selected the Spurs player in his 25-man squad for upcoming games against Tanzania on 14 and 17 November. With Pochettino exercising caution over the fitness of Bentaleb, who was a first-choice midfielder last season, any midweek involvement could irk the Spurs boss.
Summer signing Heung-Min Son has also been a recent absentee, missing the club's last six games with a foot injury. Pochettino told reporters on 4 November the forward was fit to feature against Anderlecht, bringing the player on with half an hour remaining to replace Christian Eriksen.
The former Bayer Leverkusen star was named in the South Korea squad for qualifiers against Myanmar and Laos despite his lack of football, something Pochettino said he is keen to discuss with the player. "He [Son] wants to go, it is normal. You want to play for your country. We need to speak a little bit to arrive at the best thing for him, for his national team and for us. It is a very long way [to go]. It is another matter and we need to speak with him and with the national team."