Tottenham's Alderweireld nearing first-team return, says Pochettino
(Reuters) - Tottenham Hotspur defender Toby Alderweireld could return from a knee injury when they host Swansea City in the Premier League on Saturday, manager Mauricio Pochettino has said.
Alderweireld, who last featured in their Premier League draw at West Bromwich Albion in October, was in commanding form alongside compatriot Jan Vertonghen at the heart of the Spurs defence that conceded just 35 league goals last season.
"He (Alderweireld) has been training with the team this week. We need to assess him tomorrow to see if he's ready or not," Pochettino told reporters on Thursday.
In the absence of the influential Belgian, Tottenham have struggled, having won just once in their last nine games, which has led to an early exit from the Champions League and an end to their 12-game unbeaten league run at Chelsea last weekend.
Pochettino also said he was delighted that the protracted contract negotiations with Harry Kane ended with the striker signing a new six-year deal at the club.
"It's important for us, for the club. It's great news. We are very happy because he (Kane) is showing his commitment to the club," the Argentine added.
"It's important for the player to be calm in their mind and focus on playing and improving every day. When they are involved in the negotiations, it can affect the player.
"I'm not saying it affected Harry, but the deal is done and he can focus on training and improving and scoring goals."
Left back Danny Rose is available for Saturday's clash against Swansea after missing the Chelsea defeat through suspension, but winger Erik Lamela and defender Ben Davies remain out with injury.
Tottenham are fifth in the league with 24 points, seven behind leaders Chelsea and four behind fourth-placed Arsenal after 13 games.
(Reporting by Shravanth Vijayakumar in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis)