Photo: Tottenham loanee Lewis Holtby returns to Hamburg training

The German midfielder has moved a step closer to a return to action after recovering from a broken collarbone.

"Lewis Holtby was back in action again today!"

Hamburg have received a boost in their battle to avoid relegation, with Tottenham Hotspur loanee Lewis Holtby returning to training for the first time since breaking his collarbone in January.

Holtby, 24, joined Hamburg on a season-long loan deal in September after new Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino deemed him surplus to requirements, before going on to make 15 total appearances for the Bundesliga club until being sidelined, recording no goals and one assist.

However, he has now taken part in full first-team training for the first time in seven weeks and, while a date is still to be established for his potential return, the German midfielder is expected to be back on the pitch at some stage later this month.

Sitting 15th-place in the table, just two points off the drop zone with 10 games remaining, Hamburg could no doubt do with the Spurs man back sooner rather than later, although his production since arriving at the Imetch Arena has been disappointing to say the least.

It's been a similar story with Tottenham, where, after arriving from Schalke in the winter of 2013, first-team opportunities in the club’s crowded midfield have proved few and far between, with the second half of last season spent on loan at Fulham as a result.

Making three appearances under Pochettino at the start of this term before heading off to Hamburg with a view to a permanent move, a report from Bild in October claimed that a £5 million option had been triggered to complete a full-time switch, although no official word has since been heard from either side.

Nevertheless, the three-time capped international seemed to suggest in a recent interview with Fanbookz that he could be set for a long-term stay, declaring on a potential return to England: “I don’t think about it at the moment because I’m focused on being at Hamburg.

“I want to settle here and establish myself at the club. That’s my aim.”

It’s perhaps no surprise that Holtby's Spurs career looks to be drawing to a close at this point but, given the promise he flashed upon first arriving, there has to remain a twinge of 'what could have been' over his failure to make the grade.

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