Heading into Saturday’s North London derby against Arsenal, there are some massive injury concerns for Tottenham Hotspur (Watch live, 7:30 a.m. ET on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com).
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Mauricio Pochettino spoke to the media on Thursday and confirmed that Harry Kane, Harry Winks and Dele Alli were back in full training on Thursday for the first time since pulling out of the England squad over the international break.
Hugo Lloris is also back in training much earlier than expected after he missed Spurs’ 1-0 win against Crystal Palace before the international break with the French goalkeeper previously thought to be a long shot to make the NLD, while Michel Vorm is also back in training.
Pochettino stopped short of saying all the players who have returned to training are available for selection on Saturday, but he’s hopeful.
“We are happy because today they make the team for the first time all the players arrive from the international break. We need to assess all of them tomorrow. We have one training session more. We are optimistic but we need to wait to analyse every single case… I hope that tomorrow we can count with them for the game, but still we need to decide between the medical staff, the sports science and us. I am happy because if they cannot play Saturday they are close to play Tuesday or next weekend.”
Pochettino was asked for a percentage figure on Kane being fit to face Arsenal but refused to do that and simply added: “we need to assess him tomorrow to get the best decision, first of all for him and then for the team.”
So, positive news for Pochettino with Kane, Dele, Winks and Lloris close to winning their race to be ready for Saturday’s huge clash at the Emirates Stadium.
However, Pochettino revealed a huge blow for Tottenham as Belgian defender Toby Alderweireld will be out much longer than previously expected after suffering a hamstring injury against Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League.
“Toby is out. We need to assess him but we expect much longer than we first expected. Maybe after Christmas [he will return], that is the expectation,” Pochettino said. “It will be longer. The injury is in his hamstring. Toby feels disappointed and is a little bit sad but in the same way he is focused now on trying to recover and is working hard. He is in the first stage of his rehab and as always with his type of injury we must be cautious.”
Alderweireld aside, Spurs are looking in much better shape than many expected heading into this Saturday’s game. With Kane, Dele and Lloris having a two week break they could well be fresh to kick on again and you’d have to say they are now the slight favorites, especially given Christian Eriksen‘s sublime form over the international break when he scored a hat trick against the Republic of Ireland to lead Denmark to the 2018 World Cup.