Last week it took us by surprised, but after getting word of his injury, concern about Clint Dempsey?s exclusion from Tottenham?s team against Stoke proved much ado about nothing. Whereas the first reaction from U.S. Men?s National Team fans was one of concern, word of ?Deuce?s? groin injury help assuage worries the USMNT linchpin was losing time with his club.
But over the Christmas holiday we heard very little about his (or anybody?s) fitness, so when the U.S. international was again excluded from Andr? Villas-Boas?s team for today?s match at Villa Park, there were renewed concerns. Only this time, the concerns were accompanied by a bit of conspiracy.
Where?s Clint Dempsey? And why don?t we know more about his status?
Today against Aston Villa, Villas-Boas has selected the same four players who started at forward and wide midfield in Spurs? 0-0 weekend draw with Stoke. Emmanuel Adebayor and Jermain Defoe were up top. Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon wide.
And just under an hour into today?s match, the results have been much the same. That Tottenham has continued to struggle without Dempsey will provide some solace for Deuce?s biggest supporters, even if Defoe?s broken through near the hour.
MORE: Wayne Rooney set to miss three weeks for Manchester United
Still, all this fretting exaggerates the influence of Dempsey?s injury. While it?s true that the former Cottager may see slightly less time in a fully healthy Spurs team, he?s not going to be forgotten. Villas-Boas clearly values Dempsey?s contributions, which is why the American was not only immediately inserted into Spurs? starting XI after his arrival but also maintained his place during his early season adaptation.
And paranoia about his injury status may also go too far. Given the nature of groin injuries, if Dempsey was hurt on Saturday, it?s not unreasonable that he?d continue to have problems today. It?s only been three days.
Until we hear more, there?s no reason to think Dempsey?s fitness is a serious concern. Nor is there reason to think he?s fallen out of favor at White Hart Lane.