England right-back Kyle Walker has returned to Tottenham training after eight months out with an abdominal injury.
The 24-year-old, capped 10 times by the Three Lions, has not featured for Spurs since the first leg of Europa League last-16 clash with Benfica on March 13.
The abdominal issue resulted in Walker missing out on England’s World Cup squad and saw him undergo lower abdominal surgery in September – a move the north Londoners had initially hoped to avoid.
A first-team return is at last in sight for the full-back, though, after he started training with Tottenham again.
“It’s great to be back out there with the lads,” Walker told the club’s official website, www.tottenhamhotspur.com.
“I’m taking it one step at a time, doing things correctly as I’ve been told and I’ll see where I am in a couple of weeks.
“Everything is good at the moment. I’ll be even happier when I’m back playing but that’s the final step.”
Walker’s return to action will be boost for country and, in particular, club, who have struggled under head coach Mauricio Pochettino this term.
Eric Dier and Kyle Naughton have filled in at right-back during his absence, while DeAndre Yedlin – signed in the summer but loaned back to Seattle Sounders - will soon provide further competition for the role.
There is no timescale on when Walker will again take to the field, but he believes he will do so a better player.
“I think I’ve matured as a player and a person and hopefully that will take me onto the next step in my career,” he said.
“From my operation to my first day back in training was a 12-week programme and I didn’t miss a day’s work.
“I thought to myself ’I’m going to put my all into this’ and hopefully that will stand me in good stead in terms of training and then working my way back into the team.
“I’m taking it slowly and hopefully it won’t be too long before I’m back out there at White Hart Lane.”