Napoli head coach Luciano Spalletti says the Serie A side will be willing to fast track the return of Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen from a facial injury, www.aclsports.com reports.
Osimhen, 22, suffered facial fractures after a clash of heads with Inter Milan defender Milan Skriniar in Napoli’s loss to the champions on November 21 at the Guiseppe Meazza.
The doctor who operated on the Nigeria international disclosed that the player required ‘‘six plaques and 18 screws’’ to repair the ‘‘devastating’’ damage and could spend up to three months on the sidelines.
However, the striker began light training on Wednesday, barely two weeks after the surgery and has suddenly brought back hopes of Naples faithful and Nigerian football fans ahead of 2022.
Spalletti while facing the press on Wednesday ahead of Napoli’s crucial Europa League clash with Premier League side Leicester City in Naples on Thursday spoke on their eagerness to have Osimhen back.
“We will urge him every day and see what answers he gives. Recovery times will be defined on the basis of his reaction,” said the former AS Roma manager.
Spalletti, like many Nigerians who are hopeful of having the striker at January’s Africa Cup of Nations, is banking on Osimhen’s fighting spirit, adding that the club will try to “shorten the times” of his recovery.
“Knowing him well, we are confident that recovery can take place as soon as possible. It is clear that the situation will need to be protected, but we will try to do it anyway and shorten the times as much as possible,” said Spalletti.
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In Osimhen’s absence though, Napoli must find a way past Leicester City on Thursday should they harbour any hopes of progressing to the next round of the competition.
Napoli need an outright win against Leicester who currently lead Group C with eight points, one more than the Italians.