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Tottenham captain Hugo Lloris hopes he has taken a positive step towards returning from a knee injury – but it remains to be seen whether he will be back to play for Antonio Conte as the manager’s future continues to be uncertain.

Veteran goalkeeper Lloris has missed nine games since suffering the problem during the win over Manchester City on February 5.

The French World Cup winner made a welcome appearance in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Hotspur Way on Thursday, playing for 45 minutes.

Lloris feels he can now build towards rejoining the first-team squad as Spurs look to salvage a top-four Premier League finish having suffered exits from both the FA Cup and Champions League.

“It was good to be back on the pitch, to have that reference,” Lloris said on the Tottenham website.

“Obviously, it’s been a long journey, but step by step I’m closer to a return. I’ll keep working and I’d like to thank all the staff for their help.”

Lloris added: “Everything feels OK now. I’ll continue to go step by step.”

Facing up to another trophyless campaign has put the status of Italian coach Conte firmly in the spotlight.

The 53-year-old, whose current contract will expire in the summer, launched an explosive rant following last Saturday’s 3-3 draw at Southampton ahead of the international break in which he questioned the culture of a club who have “never won something”. He also took aim at his own “selfish players” after they let a two-goal lead slip.

Tottenham are not set to resume Premier League action until April 3, but which time a decision on Conte’s future is expected to have been made by chairman Daniel Levy and the board.

Conte returned to Italy during the international break, and it remains to be seen whether he will be back at the club.

Julian Nagelsmann
Julian Nagelsmann appears set to leave Bayern Munich (Steven Paston/PA)

Should Conte depart, it has been reported Spurs are considering a move for Julian Nagelsmann, who is expected to be dismissed by German giants Bayern Munich and replaced by former Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel.

Former RB Leipzig boss Nagelsmann had previously been on Spurs’ radar following the departure of Jose Mourinho.

Nuno Espirito Santo was eventually appointed, but then lasted less than four months before Conte arrived in early November 2021.