Inter Milan winger Ivan Perisic will play in a preseason friendly against Schalke on Friday as uncertainty continues to surround his future.
The Croatia international has been linked with Manchester United, with a recent absence from training — which Inter said was due to toothache — fuelling rumours of a move.
But coach Luciano Spalletti told a news conference ahead of the match in China: “He’s going to be playing more than the others considering he’s not been involved in our friendlies in Brunico [at a preseason training camp].”
Spalletti also denied speculation that Inter had used toothache as an excuse for Perisic’s absence, adding: “I get no advantage out of telling you lies.
“It’s only right that our fans know the truth. He’s with us now.”
The coach said he would not risk Mauro Icardi in Friday’s friendly, with the forward still struggling with a thigh injury.
“He’s training individually and is continuing his own programme,” he said.
“If and when he will join the team in training will be determined day by day. We definitely do not want to risk not having him available for the start of the season.”
Icardi, who scored 24 goals last season, said: “I picked up an injury at the end of the season and we’re evaluating it with the staff and the coach.
“There’s still a wound and I can feel that it’s not 100 percent. They don’t want to take any risks that I might tear it again, so I’m working individually, running a lot, doing a lot of strength training.
“Then we’ll see whether I get to play out here in China or whether I have to wait until August.”
Inter will spend 11 days in China and Singapore before returning to Italy for the final three weeks of preparations ahead of the new season.
Ben Gladwell reports on Serie A, the Italian national team and the Bundesliga for AloneSports FC, UEFA and the Press Association. @UEFAcomBenG.