Tottenham’s title hopes have been handed a boost after Toby Alderweireld recovered from a stomach bug and is expected to be fit to face Liverpool on Saturday.
Alderweireld pulled out of Belgium’s trip to Portugal on Tuesday through illness but trained with Spurs on Wednesday and Thursday, with head coach Mauricio Pochettino now confident he will make the trip to Anfield.
The central defender has been an integral part of Tottenham’s success this season and his fitness this weekend is crucial given victory at Liverpool would reduce the gap behind Leicester to two points, before the Foxes face Southampton on Sunday.
“He is okay. He trained the last two days in a very good way. We need to assess him on Friday but we hope he will be in good condition to compete on Saturday,” Pochettino said.
Erik Lamela, however, is struggling to be available. The winger only arrived back from Argentina on Thursday morning and Pochettino said he also “suffered some issues” while training for his national side.
Pochettino will have been relieved to see his England contingent return fit and full of confidence after Harry Kane, Dele Alli, Eric Dier, Danny Rose and Kyle Walker all strengthened their case for inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s final Euro 2016 squad.
Kane, Alli, Dier and Rose were particularly impressive in England’s 3-2 win over Germany on Saturday and Pochettino feels proud of his crop of young talent.
“They were fantastic against Germany,” Pochettino said.
“Congratulations for the coaching staff. The generation of players England have now they are in a position to achieve big things and good things for England.
“England have a lot of good players. Harry is one of the best, but Jamie Vardy, Danny Welbeck, Theo Walcott, Wayne Rooney – the generation of players are fantastic.
“I try to sit on my sofa and watch and enjoy England like a fan.”
Pochettino will hope his England players can carry their form back to the league where Spurs can pile the pressure on Leicester with a third consecutive victory.
This weekend is the last time Tottenham will play before their title rivals in the run-in but Pochettino does not believe there is any advantage to be gained from the scheduling.
“We cannot guess whether it is better to play before or after,” Pochettino said.
“You have to be focused on your game and try to improve to get the points. It is like in penalties, some people say it is better to shoot first than second but you never know. If you win, you never know.”
Kane is hoping to play without his face mask on Saturday after recovering from a broken nose and Pochettino believes the striker should be a contender for player of the season after scoring 21 league goals already.
“In my opinion yes, my players are the best,” Pochettino said.
“But even to be objective, he is one of the contenders to be one of the best players in the Premier League.”
Jan Vertonghen is back in training after overcoming a knee injury and while this weekend will come too soon for the Belgian, he could be available to face Manchester United in 10 days’ time.