Mauricio Pochettino – Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia could return ahead of Newcastle clash.
The Premier League season feels like it’s just getting into the swing of things following Chelsea’s draw with Manchester City but, with the Blues on the cusp of some good momentum, once again they must pause for an international break.
The west London side’s stars will once again jet around the world to compete for their home nations and leave Mauricio Pochettino with a smaller group to work with at the club’s Cobham training base.
Chelsea’s injury problems have meant that the Blues have seen a number of young stars in training, and will likely continue to do so to supplement their numbers in the build up to Newcastle at the end of the month. However, there is no shortage of academy prospects also representing their nations in their respective age divisions like Leo Castledine, Eddie Beach and Ronnie Stutter.
Some key first team stars remain under Pochettino’s tutelage however, though a few days off will also be in order. Raheem Sterling has not been selected for England despite continuing his impressive form having recorded five goals and an assist so far this season.
He will be joined by club captain Reece James, who also doesn’t join up with the Three Lions. Gareth Southgate was hopeful of adding James to his ranks but the decision was made to assist his recovery. The England boss did place the ball in James’ court and described it as a ‘risk’.
“I was hoping to call up Reece James but he doesn’t feel he’s quite ready,” said Southgate. “I understand that, he’s had a long path back from a number of injuries. He’s probably a bit cautious in that respect, but I can understand why.”
Pochettino characterised the move differently however, taking the decision away from James’ hands, as England and Chelsea came together to make a decision. It remains to be seen whether Levi Colwill remains with the England squad having picked up a shoulder injury in training ahead of the match with Manchester City.
Tantalisingly, the Blues could welcome two of their injured stars back to training with the team. Pochettino revealed last week that the duo were in contention, although was hesitant over the date Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia could return.
He said: “We had some conversation and he said to me, ‘Coach, I want to be ready for after international break, Newcastle’. I asked him yesterday and he said ‘hmmm’, and I said ‘you are liar’. ‘No, no I am ready’.
“It is close and he is doing really well. We are so happy with him, the way he is recovering, he is very professional. Romeo Lavia is also close. They trained today on the pitch. Hope that next week will be involved with the team and see after. Day by day see when it is possible to play with the team.”
Robert Sanchez, Thiago Silva, Benoit Badiashile, Marc Cucurella and Armando Broja will also be available to work together in the build up to the visit to St James’ Park. Trevoh Chalobah, Carney Chukwuemeka, Wesly Fofana and Ben Chilwell are all set to continue their rehabilitation from their respective injuries.