Gareth Bale will “probably” make his first appearance since returning to Tottenham when they face West Ham on Sunday.
Bale rejoined Spurs on a season-long loan in September, having left in 2013 for Real Madrid in a then world-record transfer.
A knee injury has so far kept Bale out of action and, though he gave a positive update on the forward’s condition, manager Jose Mourinho would not definitively say if the Wales international will feature in the London derby.
“Of course he wants to play. He wanted to play since the day he arrived but wasn’t possible,” Mourinho told a media conference.
“I’m not going to tell you if he’s going to play or not. What I will tell you is that he’s working very well. He’s working the way he probably hasn’t been able to do for some time.
“The planning of the recent sessions had a big focus on him. His condition is good. Does he play Sunday or Thursday, we haven’t made a decision yet.
“Every player is a very important player but the Gareth situation is very special because of his history. We care about him as much as he does for Tottenham.
“It’s a physical thing. He didn’t have any pre-season and even in the period after the lockdown, he didn’t participate in much with Real Madrid, then he plays a couple of matches with Wales, had an injury there.
“It’s not just about coming and needing a week of work to be at a level. It’s more global than that and we don’t want him to be rushed, we want him to be comfortable, we want him to make the decision of ‘yes, I’m ready to go’. It’s more about that.
“He’s working so well, just evolution in every data, in every aspect of his condition. He’s there. Probably he plays Sunday, if he doesn’t he will on Thursday [in the Europa League v LASK]. He’s there. He’s very, very close.”
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