Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen is increasingly optimistic he will have recovered from his ankle injury in time to play against Liverpool in the Champions League final, as Spurs prepare to welcome back a host of first-team players ahead of the most important match in the club’s history.
Vertonghen, 32, played the entirety of Tottenham’s remarkable 3-2 victory over Ajax last week but was later pictured by a Belgian television crew leaving the Johan Cruyff Arena on crutches, with a protective boot on his right foot.
“My ankle is swollen and I played the second-half on adrenaline,” he later commented on Dutch television. “I could not put weight on my foot after the game. But the first tests were positive and I will know soon if I will make the final. I am hopeful.”
The Belgium international played no part in Tottenham’s final game of the Premier League season, a 2-2 draw with Everton, but was seen walking freely without a boot as the first-team squad embarked upon a lap of honour around their new stadium.
He later left the stadium with the rest of his team-mates in no clear discomfort.
Vertonghen is not the only Tottenham player desperately working to regain full fitness ahead of the 1 June final in Madrid, as the club’s longstanding injury crisis finally begins to ease.
Serge Aurier returned to the club’s matchday squad for the draw with Everton, though was an unused substitute, while Victor Wanyama was fit enough to play the second-half despite suffering a thigh injury in the semi-final win against Ajax.
Spurs are also hopeful that Dele Alli, the man Wanyama replaced at half-time, will be in full health for the final against Liverpool despite struggling to reach match fitness in recent weeks.
“[Alli] did not start in the warm-up because he was feeling strange and then his performance was very poor in the first half because he could not cope with the situation,” Mauricio Pochettino explained after the Everton match.
“So, because of caution, he was out. I do not think it is a problem. We need to assess him, but I think he was tired, but for the circumstance again we played with him.”
Danny Rose and Davinson Sanchez are expected to have completed rehabilitation for their hamstring and thigh injuries respectively, while Erik Lamela and Eric Dier have both recently returned.
Harry Winks is still recovering from groin surgery but remains ‘very hopeful’ he will play in Tottenham’s final match of the season. And Harry Kane, who led Tottenham’s lap of honour on Sunday and was pictured running onto the pitch to celebrate last week’s win over Ajax, is confident he will play some part in the Madrid final.
“Hopefully [I’ll be fit],” he said in Amsterdam. “Rehab is going well so far. I start straight-line running this week, that was why I was okay to straight-line run (onto the pitch at the end)! I did not want to cut any corners.
“We just see. So far, so good. If it carries on how it should then I would hope to be (fit), but there is still a few weeks to go.”
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