Conte: Injured Richarlison will be fit for WC

Antonio Conte has confirmed Richarlison will be fit for the World Cup despite the club still waiting on the full extent of a calf injury sustained during Saturday’s 2-0 win over Everton.

The Brazil forward was on crutches and in tears after the game, telling ESPN Brazil he feared that “the realisation of my dream” to play at a World Cup was at risk.

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However, initial tests have been more positive and although the 25-year-old will have an MRI scan on Monday to determine further details, Conte was conclusive on Richarlison’s chances of making the finals in Qatar, which start on Nov. 20.

Speaking of Wednesday’s Premier League trip to Manchester United, Conte said when asked if Richarlison could miss the tournament: “No absolutely not. I can confirm this, that the player is not risking to not play the World Cup, absolutely.

“His injury is an injury, but it is not so serious. He has a problem in his calf. But I think he needs a bit of time to recover and then to be fit. I hope to play other games with us before the World Cup but for sure the injury is not so serious.

“I am happy for the player because to play the World Cup is the dream for every single player and for this reason I am happy for him. Also, because we are talking about a player who when he goes to play, he gives you everything.”

Meanwhile, Conte said Spurs tried to re-sign former midfielder Christian Eriksen in the summer before his move to United.

Eriksen worked under Conte at Inter Milan prior to suffering a cardiac arrest during a Euro 2020 game between Denmark and Finland in June last year.

Serie A rules dictated that Eriksen could not play in Italy with the cardioverter defibrillator he had fitted after the incident and his contract was cancelled before Brentford signed him the 30-year-old on a six-month deal.

That short-term deal expired in the summer and a host of clubs expressed an interest in Eriksen before he chose United, with Conte confirming on Monday that Spurs were in the running.

“Yeah, but you know I don’t want to speak about players of other teams,” he added. “For sure, Christian is a player I enjoy to work with him.

“He is a player I would like to train again, to have in my squad. But you know very well the transfer market is very difficult. I think he made a big choice to go to United to sign for a three-year contract. I wish the best for him, for his family, apart from the game against us. Then for the rest of the season, I wish for him to be the best on the pitch.

“Was it close? Now is not important to say yes or not but Christian is a player every club tried to bring into the team.”

United beat Tottenham 3-2 in last season’s corresponding fixture through a Cristiano Ronaldo hat trick, and Conte said he hopes for a different result on Wednesday.

“We are talking about an amazing player, a top player. A player who continued to make the difference for the team he is playing,” he said.

“Cristiano, with [Lionel] Messi, they made the story of football in the last 10, 15 years. I have great admiration for Cristiano, for his professionalism, but I hope [Wednesday] is not like last season, he scored three goals. We lost 3-2, but we lost against him, not against United last season. I remember very well. We played a good game and he solved the situation alone.”

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