Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Kaboul passes fitness test

Younes Kaboul could give Spurs a boost with a return to full fitness

Younes Kaboul's return to first-team action moved a step closer when he played an hour of Tottenham's Under-21 league game against West Ham.

The France defender has not played for Spurs since he aggravated a knee injury following the opening match of the season at Newcastle. The 27-year-old, who was Tottenham's most consistent centre-back last season, underwent surgery in August and was initially expected to be out for four months, but he has struggled in his rehabilitation from the injury.

On Monday night he made his comeback, playing 60 minutes of the game in front of around 300 fans at Upton Park.

Kaboul looked comfortable on the ball and did a good job of marking Modibo Maiga and the highly-rated Blair Turgott. The centre-back was not afraid to stick his foot in or challenge for headers, although he almost directed one aerial ball in to his own goal in the first half.

There was a moment of discomfort for Kaboul when a West Ham shot struck him in the groin, but he showed no sign of his knee troubling him throughout the game, and his overall play was good.

The former Portsmouth man could now be in contention for Tottenham's away trip to Basle on Thursday, although a more realistic comeback game would be the club's Barclays Premier League clash against Manchester City on April 21.

If Tottenham's defending over the last couple of weeks is anything to go by, they could do with Kaboul back in their team as soon as possible.

Spurs conceded four goals at Inter Milan last month and then went on to ship four more in their last two games against Basle and Everton.

Kaboul's return to action is a welcome boost for manager Andre Villas-Boas, whose Champions League hopes have been hit recently by injuries to key players like Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale and Aaron Lennon. Tottenham's 2-2 draw against Everton means Arsenal will leapfrog their bitter rivals in to fourth if they beat Norwich on Saturday.

Kenneth McEvoy scored in the 38th minute to grab a point for Spurs, who went behind to Wellington Paulista's first-half opener.

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