Middlesbrough v Tottenham: Pochettino left facing fitness dilemma over key duo

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Picture: Adam Davy/PA.

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino. Picture: Adam Davy/PA.

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Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino is sweating on the fitness of both Mousa Dembele and Eric Dier ahead of today’s trip to Middlesbrough.

Dier and Dembele were taken off with hamstring problems against Sunderland last weekend and then rested on Wednesday as Spurs thrashed Gillingham 5-0 in the EFL Cup.

Pochettino says he will make a late decision on his first-choice midfield pairing and may not risk them, with a Champions League clash against Moscow to come on Tuesday.

“It is a little bit more than cramp,” Pochettino said.

“It was a very small issue. They are running, working, nearly at the same level as the other players. Now I need to decide whether to take a risk or to wait for the Champions League in Moscow or against Manchester City.”

Danny Rose will also be assessed as he nears recovery from a hamstring injury, but it is likely the left-back will also be saved for the trip to Russia.

On the opposite side of defence, right-back Kyle Walker yesterday became the latest Spurs player to sign a new contract.

The former Sheffield United apprentice’s deal will run until 2021 and he joins Rose, Dier, Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Harry Winks and Tom Carroll in extending his commitment to the club this month.

“Always it’s important for the club. It’s very important for the players too,” Pochettino said.

“They show a big commitment with the club and that’s very important for the future. I am happy they show commitment with us.”

Pochettino revealed another player is close to signing a new deal, with Jan Vertonghen and Erik Lamela both in talks.

The Spurs manager has an excellent record for developing young talent and admits he would love to field a whole team of home-grown players in the future.

“It would be difficult to happen, but why not? It can happen,” said Pochettino.

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