Tottenham's Danny Rose is left out of Europa League showdown with Serbia
Tottenham left-back Danny Rose has been spared an uncomfortable return to Serbia after being left out of the Europa League squad to take on Partizan Belgrade, just two years on from being subjected to racial abuse there with England Under-21s.
Spurs kick off their Group C campaign in the Serbian capital with emotions still raw from the European Championship play-off 120 miles south in Krusevac.
A mass confrontation on the pitch marred England Under-21's progress to the finals in October 2012, when Rose, at the time on loan to Sunderland, was sent off for his reaction to racist abuse.
Nikola Ninkovic was banned for a year by the Serbian Football Association for his part in the melee and claimed in the immediate aftermath that Rose provoked home supporters with "inappropriate gestures".
Two years on, the winger is set to start for Partizan as Spurs are welcomed to Belgrade for a match Rose will not feature in having been left in London.
Recently-appointed captain Younes Kaboul, Emmanuel Adebayor, Mousa Dembele and Nacer Chadli have also stayed at home, but Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino insists Rose's absence has nothing to do with the disturbing scenes of two years ago.
"No, it's not for that reason that he did not come," the Argentinian said. "I know about the problems two years ago but they are not the reason he is not here now.
"We know the situation but it is not the reason. He didn't ask to be left out. The decision was based on football. All my selection decisions are based on football.
"I think two years ago is a long time. My decision was simply to give him a rest after Sunderland.
"Before that he was with the national team for two weeks. It allows me to see another player."