Tottenham's Toby Alderweireld Ready for Arsenal After 'Proper Hamstring Injury'

Alex Keble@alexkebleFeatured ColumnistFebruary 9, 2018

MANCHESTER, UNITED KINGDOM - OCTOBER 28: Romelu Lukaku of Manchester United and Toby Alderweireld of Tottenham Hotspur battle for possession during the Premier League match between Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur at Old Trafford on October 28, 2017 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Tottenham Hotspur centre-back Toby Alderweireld is back from a hamstring injury in time to face Arsenal in Saturday's North London derby, per Jon West for The Independent.  

The Belgium international returned from a three-month layoff against Newport County in the FA Cup fourth-round replay on Wednesday, playing 90 minutes in a 2-0 win at Wembley. He is now ready to face Spurs' archrivals in one of the biggest games of the season.

Arsenal and Tottenham are separated by just four points in the Premier League, and with Chelsea on a poor run of form, both will feel optimistic about their chances of qualifying for the Champions League.

"It was a proper hamstring injury and the risk of re-tearing it was very big," he said, per West. "That's why we had to take our time and work very hard to get the muscles to be ready for this kind of game, and to play a lot of games again."

However, the 28-year-old seemed upbeat about the three-month rehabilitation period.

"It was a difficult period for me, but on the other hand it was three months," he said. "In a football career that's not that long. I'm 28 and I'm happy that I never had a knee injury or something a lot worse.

"Of course three months is difficult, but it could have been even longer. We worked hard to be very clever, doing the right things. We didn't start training too early."

Alderweireld is aware that facing Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who has scored four goals in four games against Spurs, will be a difficult challenge for a player just back from injury.

"Everybody knows he is very quick, and he is a good finisher," Alderweireld admitted of the man he faced in Tottenham's 3-1 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League in September. "So you have to work your mind. You know one against one on the same line he will beat you so you have to be very clever, read the situation and then try to beat him with your head."

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

Given the speed of his main opponent this weekend, and the relative ease of the midweek clash against Newport, it is possible that Alderweireld's recovery won't be fully tested until the day of the game. However, the Belgian feels positive.

"I feel very good," he said, per Sky Sports. "After 90 minutes, I worked very hard to play those kind of games and be ready and I feel very good."

There is little doubt Alderweireld's return is a boost for Tottenham, who have occasionally struggled in big matches without him. Manchester City beat Spurs 4-1 at the Etihad in December with Eric Dier making a crucial error at centre-back, while Liverpool's 2-2 draw with Spurs on Feb. 4 saw Davinson Sanchez caught out on several occasions.

With such a big game at Wembley, it is the perfect time for Alderweireld to step back into the action.

Related

    Why Gabriel Jesus and Co. Were Left Out of Brazil Squad

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Why Gabriel Jesus and Co. Were Left Out of Brazil Squad

    via men

    Brazil Drop 4 Man City Stars, Call Up Fabinho

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Brazil Drop 4 Man City Stars, Call Up Fabinho

    City Watch
    via Mcfcwatch

    Levante and Morales Too Good for Betis

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Levante and Morales Too Good for Betis

    Rob Blanchette
    via Bleacher Report

    Sarri Reveals Why Chelsea Will Not Be Selling Eden Hazard

    World Football logo
    World Football

    Sarri Reveals Why Chelsea Will Not Be Selling Eden Hazard

    via footballlondon