Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas has been without dependable midfielder Scott Parker because of an Achilles issue since before the start of the 2012-13 Premier League campaign. It appears, following AVB's most recent comments on the matter, that's a trend that could continue up through the conclusion of the holiday season.
Villas-Boas gave the bad news about Parker's status while speaking with reporters on Friday. "It's difficult for him as he still feels pain and is still disturbed in his recovery," stated the Tottenham boss. "It prevents him from being on the pitch but he has been evolving inside, in the gym, with the medical department. It is still within the limits of what we expected. He is making good progress and there has been less pain. It will take two or three weeks - we could be looking at Christmas. Hopefully less."
Parker, who turned 32-years old last week, was arguably Tottenham's most important player last fall during the team's rise up the league table. He slowed down during the second half of the campaign, however, and some analysts and fans speculated that former Spurs manager Harry Redknapp overplayed the midfielder during the season. Parker, named the 2011 England Player of the Year, featured for his national team during Euro 2012. He had surgery to repair his right Achilles during the summer, and was originally slated to miss roughly one month of action.
That timetable has now been extended.
Villas-Boas didn't go into details about Parker's future role with the team. Sandro has done well filling in for the injured Parker, and it was rumored back before the start of the season that Villas-Boas preferred the Brazilian star over the veteran England midfielder. Tottenham's current midfield, which has routinely featured Sandro and Moussa Dembele, hasn't yet missed Parker during the current campaign. Spurs are on 14 points at the end of the October international break, five points behind league leaders Chelsea. Tottenham will host Chelsea on Saturday (7:30 am ET, ESPN2/ESPN Deportes).
Parker was the steal of 2011 August deadline day, and he and the then on-loan Emmanuel Adebayor transformed Spurs into the hottest team in the EPL from September to January. Times have changed for the club since then, however, and Parker could find himself relegated to cup matches and Europa League play once he returns to full fitness. It is also possible, however, that Parker could prove to be the missing piece that ultimately allows Villas-Boas to play more of a standard 4-3-3.
Regardless of AVB's future plans for the midfielder, there's no question that the Tottenham squad will be stronger once Parker is healthy. Having him fully rested and ready to play after Christmas would be like Spurs acquiring a new and motivated player during the open transfer window. With that said, there's no need for the club to rush Parker back to action until he's pain free and match fit. After all, they're doing just fine without him right now.
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