Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Erik Lamela could make his long-awaited return from troublesome hip problems against Leicester City on Tuesday (28 November) after manager Mauricio Pochettino confirmed his availability ahead of his side's visit to the King Power Stadium.
Lamela has not played for Spurs for over 12 months after suffering a hip injury last October and endured a number of setbacks during his rehabilitation. The Argentine eventually had surgery on both hips earlier this year as he sought a permanent cure to the problem and is finally ready to return to first-team action having resumed full training almost two months ago.
Lamela's availability will no doubt be a welcome boost to Tottenham boss Pochettino, who will be squeezing every last drop out of his available players during a gruelling festive period as he looks to claw back ground on runaway league leaders Manchester City.
"Good news that Erik Lamela has stepped up and is in contention for tomorrow," Pochettino said. "Always in a very busy schedule you need everyone fit to help the team and that is very good news for the team. To have Erik available to help the team is so important."
News of Lamela's return will a cap a joyful few days for the Roma star, whose girlfriend gave birth over the weekend. There were worries that the 25-year-old had suffered another setback as he did not feature in Tottenham's 1-1 draw with West Bromwich Albion or for the club's Under-23 squad, but his absence from action was for a "fantastic" reason, according to Pochettino.
"Yes, Saturday his girlfriend had a baby," Pochettino said, per Football.London. "Fantastic news for him and more good news for him after one year out.
"After one year we need to stay calm with him. He's so important for the team because he's one player more with different qualities to help the team in different situations during the game."
Lamela looks certain to play some part against Leicester, who have improved under the leadership of new manager Claude Puel, but Tottenham midfielder Harry Winks may miss the clash against the former Premier League champions through illness, though the England youngster will be assessed before Tuesday's clash.
Winks could make the trip to the King Power Stadium, but Tottenham's long-term injury absentees Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama will not face Leicester as they continue their recoveries from hamstring and knee injuries respectively.