Roma are finally beginning to welcome back some of the walking wounded, especially in attack. On Sunday, Diego Perotti made his first start of the season. On Wednesday, Cengiz Ünder will make his long awaited return, albeit in a bench role in Udine. His return coupled with Justin Kluivert returning from red card suspension will give Paulo Fonseca some more options on the wing. The manager spoke on the importance of the Turk’s return to the squad.
“Cengiz is ready and will travel with us, but he might not play from the start. He’s not in the best physical condition. He can play in various different positions, both wide and central, and he’s an important player for us because he’s fast and helps us find space. He’s important at different times in the game, but he’s not ready to play a full 90 minutes.”
Even with those returns the Giallorossi will still have a long list of injured players. Amadou Diawara, Henrikh Mkitaryan, Lorenzo Pellegrini, Bryan Cristante, and Davide Zappacosta all remain out long term. Leonardo Spinazzola looks to have avoided serious injury after leaving Sunday’s match with an apparent groin issue and is available. Meanwhile, Juan Jesus was not called up due to a muscular issue.
With all of the absences in mind, Fonseca doesn’t plan on making many changes despite the busy stretch and quick turnaround.
“Nobody can rest here. I’m not planning on making many changes. The team played well against Borussia [Monchengladbach] and AC Milan.”
Considering Fonseca’s comments, Gazzetta dello Sport projects just two changes from the side that beat Milan at the Olimpico. One of those will be the insertion of Alessandro Florenzi at right back in place of Spinazzola. The Roma captain was surprisingly skipped over off the bench for the likes of Davide Santon, Mirko Antonucci, and Mert Cetin against the Rossoneri. However, Fonseca played down the significance of those decisions.
“He’s our captain, he’s a great player and he always trains hard. In the last two games against AC Milan and Borussia [Monchengladbach] I decided on different options for the team – that’s all. He’s not played recently but he will certainly play in the future. There’s no problem. It’s just a question of options.”
The other change that’s expected is to see Kluivert start in place of Javier Pastore. The Argentine played 90 minutes for just the third time in his Roma career against Milan. So, despite Fonseca saying that nobody can rest, it seems unlikely that Pastore will be pushed too hard considering his injury history.