Andre Villas-Boas thinks Younes Kaboul's injury troubles are now well and truly behind him.
The France defender has been hit by a series of injuries over the past 18 months.
Kaboul suffered a serious knee injury on the opening day of last season at Newcastle United and after eight months out, he tore a thigh muscle in an Under 21 game against Manchester United.
This term Kaboul’s progress has been hindered by a niggling thigh injury, but after watching the 27-year-old Frenchman come through 120 minutes’ worth of action against Hull City on Wednesday night, Villas-Boas believes the centre-back is now over the worst of his problems.
“Kaboul was extraordinary on Wednesday,” the Tottenham manager said. “We planned to take him off in the 60th minute. He was giving me signs he had to come off in the 63rd minute but that was when [Nacer] Chadli was injured, and he gave the thumbs up to continue.
“It was good that he played 120 minutes. I think we’ve finally buried his recurrent injuries.
“That’s a great credit to the player and our medical department. There is a possibility he will make the team selection to start at Everton.
“It’s a big decision I have to make bearing in the mind the amount of effort he put in. But he is a great player for us.”
Danny Rose’s injury means Kaboul should slot straight in alongside Michael Dawson at centre-back, with Jan Vertonghen moving to left-back.
The Londoners have enjoyed their best defensive start to a Premier League season in eight years, conceding just five goals in their opening nine games.
That defence will be put to the test on Sunday, though, as Romelu Lukaku will be out to get one over on his old manager.
Lukaku has been the spearhead for Everton’s excellent start to the campaign under Roberto Martinez, and Villas-Boas said the Merseyside club will be in contention for a Uefa Champions League spot come the end of the season.
“I think they will be competing for top four,” the Portuguese said. “David Moyes left that aura and motivation to compete for these places.
“In the past we have seen them compete for a Champions League spot up to two or three fixtures away from the end of the season. They have the ability [to do it].
“To change the coach makes it always very difficult but they still have quite a lot of points so far.”
Martinez, the Everton manager, agreed with his counterpart and said if his side can negotiate the next three months without too many mishaps they will be in a good position challenge the Premier League’s big spenders.
An encouraging start to the season has seen Everton take 19 points from nine matches to sit sixth in the table ahead of the weekend’s games and still within striking distance of the top.
On Sunday, Everton kick off a run of games where they face just four clubs currently above them in the 14 matches until the end of January. They do play Liverpool twice and go to Manchester United, who are four points behind them.
“In any season you want to be in a strong position in the final third of the season,” said Martinez. “We have been very pleased with the start of the season and the way the squad is shaping up, now it is a matter of getting through the middle third of the campaign and seeing where that takes us.
“It is in our DNA to win trophies and leagues and we need to use that to our advantage.
“You always work towards that. How long is it going to take? It could be a season, but remember that there is a huge difference between us and the group of teams working at a certain financial level.
“But I always believe in football it is not always about finances. You just need the time to bridge that gap you have.
“We are not financially fighting with the clubs who are spending to win the league or get into the Champions League but I believe with the characters we have at the club we can challenge that but it will take time to bridge the gap.”
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