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Van der Vaart ready for early return

Tottenham Hotspur playmaker Rafael van der Vaart is set to appear in next weekend's home clash with Liverpool after making a quicker-than-expected recovery from a hamstring injury.

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Van der Vaart, 28, picked up the problem during Spurs' embarrassing 5-1 home defeat to Manchester City last month, and was expected to be sidelined for at least six weeks.

However, he is now on track for a rapid return to action, having missed Spurs' first league win of the season against Wolves on Saturday.

"I have been treated intensively by (physiotherapist) Dick van Toorn," Van der Vaart said on his official website. "I was able to do proper turns again and regular sprints. Next weekend seems like no problem to me!"

Van Toorn said: "In the hospital they said Rafa would be out for more than a month but he can play in next week's Tottenham match.

"I will leave that decision up to the medical staff of Tottenham. Rafael is a crown jewel for football. I have rarely met a player in all those years who is so dedicated to his job and who wants to work so hard to get back on the pitch."

Whether Van der Vaart walks straight back into Harry Redknapp's team remains to be seen, as the new strike partnership of Jermain Defoe and Emmanuel Adebayor proved fruitful at Molineux, with both players netted in the 2-0 triumph.

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