Brighton's Kaoru Mitoma returns to training after back injury

Kaoru Mitoma has returned to Brighton training as the winger steps up his recovery from the back injury he sustained in February.

The Japan international took part in the first day of training on Monday under new head coach Fabian Hurzeler.

The 27-year-old was ruled out from February for the rest of the 2023-24 season by a back problem, which required rest rather than surgery.

At that point, he had scored 13 goals and provided 13 assists in his previous 67 outings across all competitions.

Mitoma spent part of the summer break in Japan, working in the gym with Japan international team-mate Reo Hatate, who plays for Celtic.

The 27-year-old’s recovery to full fitness is being overseen by Brighton’s new medical team: head of medicine Florian Pfab from Eintracht Frankfurt and head of performance Gary Walker from MLS club FC Cincinnati.

Mitoma returns to Japan later this month as the star attraction for friendlies in Tokyo against J1 League teams Kashima Antlers (July 24) and Tokyo Verdy (July 28).

Brighton are going to Japan to capitalise on the commercial popularity of Mitoma in his home country.

They return to England for friendlies away to Championship side Queens Park Rangers (August 3) and at home to La Liga outfit Villareal (August 10) before opening their Premier League campaign at Everton on August 17.

(GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

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