Harry Kane could return against Arsenal on Sunday but the Tottenham striker will not be ready to face Bayer Leverkusen in the Champions League.
Kane has been out for just over six weeks after injuring ligaments in his right ankle but the 23-year-old was involved in first-team training both on Monday and Tuesday.
He only did half-sessions with the rest of the squad, however, before separately completing a specific recovery programme on his own. Kane is expected to take part in full training again on Thursday.
Mauricio Pochettino said his top striker will not feature against Leverkusen at Wembley on Wednesday but left open the possibility of a north London derby return at the Emirates Stadium this weekend.
“Tomorrow, no, not on the bench,” Pochettino said.
“It’s good because you can see him today warming up with the team to be involved in some exercises. But no, for tomorrow he is not ready.
“Sunday? Maybe, maybe.”
— Harry Kane (@HKane) November 1, 2016
Toby Alderweireld has also missed the last four matches with a leg injury and Pochettino appeared less optimistic about the defender’s chances of featuring this week.
Pochettino at one stage hoped Alderweireld would play against Leicester last Saturday but the Argentinian admits there have been some “slight problems” with his rehabilitation.
The Belgian was seen stretching on his own in the gym at Tottenham’s training ground on Tuesday before later completing some sprint exercises separately from the rest of the squad.
Erik Lamela has recovered from the illness that kept him out of the squad against Leicester but is still a doubt to face Leverkusen after feeling a problem in his hip on Tuesday.
If Kane is included either from the start or on the bench against Arsenal, it would put him in contention for international selection later this month.
England play Scotland in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on November 11 before hosting a friendly against Spain on November 15.
Tottenham may be understandably cautious about over-exerting Kane so soon but Pochettino insists he would not stand in Gareth Southgate’s way should he pick the forward.
— Tottenham Hotspur (@SpursOfficial) November 1, 2016
“If he is available to play Sunday against Arsenal then it will be difficult for us to stop him if the national team call him,” Pochettino said.
“We are pro-national team always for all the players. If Harry is available we are not stupid to say ‘no, Harry is out,’ to try to protect him so that after two weeks he can be with us.
“We want the best for the team and for the player. It’s true that maybe it makes more sense for the national team to say: ‘Okay, stay at home. Stay with Tottenham and train for two weeks. It’s important to build Harry’s fitness and be better after’.
“But, if they consider that they need Harry to play for the national team and he is available to play against Arsenal then we cannot stop.”
Kane’s comeback will be a timely boost for Tottenham, who have struggled for form and fluency since demolishing Manchester City so impressively last month.
Spurs have failed to score from open play in their last four matches and cannot afford a slip-up against Leverkusen, who sit third and only a point behind them in Group E.
“It’s important to win. Leverkusen is a very good team with very good players. I think it will be tough,” Pochettino said.
“We need to be more clinical in our offensive situation. We need to be determined and aggressive in the last third.
“It’s true that the last few weeks after the international break it was difficult for us to score. We are creating the same chances as before.
“But it’s true that our percentage was poor in front of goal. We are working on that.”