Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino says illness and an ankle problem mean Harry Winks is currently unable to play.
Winks was not involved in Sunday’s FA Cup game against AFC Wimbledon at Wembley, where a 3-0 win took Spurs comfortably through to the fourth round.
Popular midfielder Winks has not featured since the win against Southampton on Boxing Day.
Speaking at his post-match press conference, Pochettino explained: “Harry Winks had a problem in his ankle and had a cold during the week. He’s not ready to play.
“They’re not machines. There are 24 players who all work hard to fight for one place in the starting XI.”
Harry Kane scored twice for Spurs as they saw off their League One opponents.
There continues to be speculation over the England striker’s long-term future, with Real Madrid said to be interested.
“Harry is special because he loves Tottenham and feels Tottenham,” said Pochettino.
“It’s like (Francesco) Totti in Italy – only special players spend all their career at one club.
“I think Harry is this kind of player that can, because he loves Tottenham. But you can be sure of nothing in football.
“We need to be careful how we manage him and then the player needs to choose to stay here. You cannot force everyone to stay.”