Mauricio Pochettino has suggested Giovani Lo Celso may not be seen in the Tottenham starting line-up for some time because of the circumstances in which he signed for the club.

Lo Celso joined Spurs on deadline day on an initial loan deal, but the Londoners have an obligation to buy the midfielder next summer. He didn’t make the squad for Tottenham’s opening game of the season against Aston Villa having arrived in the country just two days prior to the match.

But Lo Celso did appear against Manchester City last weekend, coming on as a late substitute as Spurs scraped a 2-2 draw at the Etihad. There had been suggestions he will be in the starting line-up against Newcastle United on Sunday, but Pochettino has all but ruled out that possibility.

“I think Lo Celso is a situation that is not going to be easy,” Pochettino said (via Sky Sports) in his press conference on Friday.

“He was in extended holidays after the Copa America, he didn’t have a proper pre-season and didn’t train too much. Then signed for us after a week without training.

“He’s training well but is still so far away from what we expect from him. We need to give him time. He was involved [on Saturday] and will maybe have the possibility to help the team in some points, but we won’t expect too much from him.

“We need to not put the responsibility on him, only to improve and adapt himself with us and see. It’s a natural process to learn and improve. The moment he will be fit and deserves to play, then sure, he will have the chance like other players.”

If Pochettino is being truth and not simply throwing a curveball, his comments suggest Lo Celso will not be starting against Arsenal in next weekend’s north London derby. However, that could change if Christian Eriksen leaves the club before Tottenham’s trip to the Emirates.

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