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Everton have played down reports that midfielder Tim Cahill is close to a return to training in his recovery from knee ligament damage.

The Australian international, 26, was injured during the game with Birmingham on 22 April and was ruled out of action for six weeks.

Everton physio Mick Rathbone told the club’s website: “He’s made good progress but is not close to returning to training.

“In about two-and-a-half weeks post-injury he’ll start light jogging.”

Cahill faces a battle to be fit in time for his country’s opening World Cup match against Japan on 12 June.

Rathbone added: “He is about 11 days post-injury now and is doing some light work on the exercise bike.

“Tim has another appointment with the consultant in two weeks’ time for a further scan. We will evaluate then and see how it goes from there.”

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