The Tottenham Hotspur winger Aaron Lennon is expected to miss his side's trip to Wigan Athletic at the weekend and now faces a battle to prove his fitness before England's friendly against Egypt at the start of next month.
Spurs manager Harry Redknapp was encouraged last week as Lennon does not require an operation on his groin injury, commenting that "he's running like Linford Christie", but the 22-year-old is still in the rehabilitation stage of his comeback and has not yet joined in full training with his first-team colleagues.
It is understood Lennon is not included in plans for the Premier League trip to Wigan's DW Stadium on Sunday, when Redknapp's side face the team they defeated 9-1 earlier in the season. It means Lennon only has the FA Cup fifth-round replay against Bolton the following Wednesday as a possible appearance before Fabio Capello names his squad for the Egypt match on 3 March at Wembley, England's final game before the domestic season ends and attention turns to the World Cup.
Capello is scheduled to choose his squad the day before Spurs face Everton, so Lennon could still feature and he will be desperate to impress after catching the attention of the Italian earlier in the campaign and playing in England's final three qualifiers.
Since Lennon's injury, suffered in the victory over West Ham at the end of December, Spurs have won just one league game and have slipped out of the top four, although they remain in the FA Cup. They would have sealed a place in the quarter-finals of the competition if Tom Huddlestone had converted a penalty against Bolton at the weekend, the fourth time this season Spurs have failed from the spot. It is understood players have practised penalties on their return to training.Reuse content