Tottenham Hotspur defender Jan Vertonghen appears on course to return from his latest injury lay-off ahead of schedule. The versatile centre-back has been sidelined since late June, when he tore two of three external ankle ligaments during a training session held prior to Belgium's quarter-final clash with Wales at Euro 2016.
In addition to ruling him out of that shock 3-1 defeat in Lille, such a blow was expected to keep Vertonghen, who also missed over two months of Tottenham's 2015/16 title chase with knee damage, out of action for between six to eight weeks. That timeframe put his chances of featuring in the Premier League opener at Everton on 13 August in jeopardy, although Mauricio Pochettino has now revealed that his recovery is progressing nicely.
"Jan is back in London and training well now, he's very close to coming back," the manager was quoted as saying by Spurs' official website at a press conference held on a pre-season tour of Australia.
When asked if Vertonghen would be fit to start at Goodison Park on opening day, he added: "We'll see when we arrive on Monday and start to train with the whole group, but if it's not possible we have enough players to replace him."
Tottenham are currently in Melbourne fulfilling their International Champions Cup duties. Pochettino's side were beaten 2-1 by reigning Serie A champions Juventus at the MCG on Tuesday (26 July) and return to the same venue for Friday's meeting with Atletico Madrid.
Christian Eriksen was absent from that first friendly due to a virus that struck shortly after arrival and made it "impossible" for him to play any part. However, the Danish midfielder insists he has now recovered and should play at least 45 minutes against Diego Simeone's beaten Champions League finalists.
"I feel much better now," he said. "We had training after we arrived and straight after I felt a little sick and had stomach pains, but I feel much better. Hopefully I'll now be involved and make up my (playing) minutes."