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Tottenham’s Nuno admits he is ignoring FA guidance over heading


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ottenham head-coach Nuno Espirito Santo has admitted he is ignoring new guidance aimed at limiting the number of headers players do in training, insisting heading is “part of the game”.

Ahead of this season, the Football Association recommended professional players do no more than 10 “higher force” headers in training per week to reduce the risk of dementia.

Multiple studies have shown a correlation between heading the ball and developing dementia in later life, and this week the family of former Spurs defender Joe Kinnear revealed he is latest ex-professional living with the disease.

Defensive set-pieces have featured prominently in Nuno’s training schedule ahead of Sunday’s north London derby after Spurs conceded headers from corners in their last two matches, against Chelsea and Wolves.

But asked if set-piece drills were more difficult to practice given the new guidance, Nuno revealed he is ignoring the recommendations, despite being concerned about dementia.

“Good question. That’s why we have training sessions without anybody seeing us,” he said.

“I’m concerned with the situation of dementia and what heading the ball can cause. It’s a big concern for us but it’s part of the game.

“Honestly, I will not lie to you [the media]. I don’t count how many times our players head the ball. Maybe I will get myself in trouble for this. But football is jumping, heading. It’s part of the game.”

Nuno’s side go into the derby at Arsenal on the back on a patchy run of form, following back to back 3-0 defeats to Crystal Palace and Chelsea, and Wednesday’s win over Wolves in the Carabao Cup third-round.

Spurs collapsed in the second half of both derby defeats after going in level at the interval, and squandered a 2-0 lead at Molineux to draw 2-2 before progressing on penalties.

Nuno said his side must learn to respond to setbacks and likened them to a boxer on the defensive, picking their moments to punch.


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