El Shaarawy closing in on Milan return
AC Milan forward Stephan El Shaarawy has taken a step closer to a return from injury by scoring in a training session with the Serie A club's youth team, the club have announced on their official website.
The Italy international has missed almost the whole season due to injury. He made a brief return from a muscular problem on Dec. 7, during Milan's draw with Livorno, before suffering another setback in his foot.
The 21-year-old has yet to feature in a squad under Clarence Seedorf, although there is now a chance he will figure before the end of the season.
The striker's only goal of the season came in the Champions League playoff against PSV Eindhoven in August. He was originally set to play a part in the Milan youth team's derby against Inter Milan, although Rossoneri youth coach Filippo Inzaghi ultimately opted against fielding him.
"He's got to focus on getting well," Inzaghi told Milan Channel. "We would have been happy to have him, but we all want him to make a full recovery and be ready.
"We just have to be patient because, when you've been out for so long, it does take a few days to get back to your best form."
With six games of the season remaining, El Shaarawy could yet get a chance to help Milan in their quest for a place in Europe next season.
Five points separate them from city rivals Inter, who currently occupy the last guaranteed berth in the Europa League.
Sixth place is also likely to be enough, with Coppa Italia finalists Napoli and Fiorentina both set to finish inside the top five, meaning the cup winners' place in Europe will then go to the next highest-ranked side in Serie A.
Meanwhile, on-loan midfielder Adel Taarabt says he is keen to convince Milan to make his move from QPR a permanent one after scoring in Monday night's 2-1 win over Genoa.
"Seedorf believes in me a lot, but I don't know what the future holds," the 24-year-old told Milan Channel. "I've got a month and a half to do well. I'll give everything for the team and I want everybody to remember me for having always given everything during my time here."