Dries Mertens hopes he can “play together” with Lorenzo Insigne for Napoli and Arkadiusz Milik’s injury means he may well get that wish.
The Partenopei were shaken last night by Milik’s injury on international duty with Poland, reportedly a partial ACL tear that will require four months on the sidelines.
As Manolo Gabbiadini is not a genuine centre-forward and often struggled in that role, Mertens and Insigne could flank Jose Callejon as a False 9.
Mertens was unaware of all this at the time he gave an interview to La Gazzetta dello Sport, but may well have predicted the future tactical system anyway.
“There are many games, so naturally players have to rest occasionally. The Coach is wise to rotate the squad, even if everyone wants to play as much as possible. In the career of a player, competition provides fundamental motivation to improve.
“At times I am upset when I am not chosen, as I’d love to score or be decisive in every game, but I understand the needs of the team.
“People have said many things about the situation with Insigne, but the truth is there is no rivalry between us. In fact, I can say I’m happy for him when he plays and happy when we play together.
“There will be space and time for both of us to have fun. I hope to sign my new contract soon and that Insigne will do the same, as that is the best path to really target the Scudetto.”
Next weekend it’s a head-to-head for second place with Roma.
“A very important game, there’s no point denying it, even if there will be many more over the course of the campaign. We are playing on home turf, so cannot afford to make a mistake.
“We must beat Roma at all costs, especially after our poor performance with Atalanta.”
Watch Serie A live in the UK on Premier Sports for just £9.99 per month including live LaLiga, Eredivisie, Scottish Cup Football and more. Visit: https://www.premiersports.com/subscribenow