Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor and Etienne Capoue have not been involved since January, but Mauricio Pochettino says that does not mean their Tottenham careers are over.
After being appointed head coach at White Hart Lane last summer, the former Argentina international handed experienced defender Kaboul the captain’s armband.
Hugo Lloris was named as one of his deputies alongside Adebayor, although the former is the only one of the three to have established himself as a regular under Pochettino.
Kaboul, Adebayor and fellow misfit Capoue all looked set to exit before the transfer window closed and have not featured since moves away failed to materialise.
It is now eight matches in all competitions since any of them were even an unused substitute, yet Pochettino indicated they were still in his plans.
“Always for every game it’s my decision, my choice,” the Spurs head coach said when asked about the trio at his Friday press conference.
“I think that you understand. In the end, all of our squad is fully fit and you need to pick players.
“I am happy with all, but if we have 26 or 27 players in the squad then more than 18 is impossible.”
A return to the squad against QPR in Saturday’s rearranged Barclays Premier League match looks unlikely given Pochettino has a fully-fit squad to choose from.
The trip to Loftus Road will be their sixth match in a topsy-turvy 17-day period and one in which a win is needed to bolster their top-four hopes.
“We are expecting a very tough game,” Pochettino said. “QPR is a strong team and we play in their home.
“It will be a very difficult game. It’s a local derby, a London derby. I think the three points will be important for them and for us, too.”
Keeping Charlie Austin quiet will be key if Spurs are to come away from west London with a positive result.
The former bricklayer has netted 15 top-flight goals for Rangers this season, with the latest coming in Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat to Arsenal.
“Charlie Austin is a very good player,” Pochettino added. “This season he has scored a lot of goals.
“He is a very good player and we need to focus on him but on (Bobby) Zamora and other players, too.”
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