Graham Potter will be happier with the state of his Chelsea squad when they return from the international break.
Chelsea boss Graham Potter has had a bloated but disjointed squad during his time at Stamford Bridge, as many of his stars have struggled with fitness concerns that forced his hand into making several changes. Potter has found a settled side in recent weeks that has coincided with an upturn in form, though has still missed several of his key players who will be a welcome boost upon their return after the international break. Here, Express Sport has looked at four players who could put their injury woes behind them for the Blues’ next game at home to Aston Villa on April 1.
N’Golo Kante was part of the Chelsea squad for the 2-2 draw with Everton, but did not come off the bench as he stepped up his recovery from an injury he picked up in the second game of the season, before suffering a setback that has kept him out until now. Potter explained that a behind-closed-doors match will take place over the international break to aid the 31-year-old in his comeback.
“We’re still planning it but I think it will probably be internal,” Potter said. “That will be good. We need to control it as much as we can and then I think we’ve got about four players [not on international duty], so it is what it is. We have to hope players come back injury free and that we use the break to refresh and prepare for a really hectic April.”
Raheem Sterling was not named in the England squad for upcoming games against Italy and Ukraine, as he has missed the last two games with a hamstring injury. Those injuries typically take a couple of weeks to recover from and as it is the second he has suffered this year, Potter will be glad that he can take his time over the international break and aim to return against Villa.
Wesley Fofana earned his first call-up to the French national team but was forced to withdraw due to an injury he picked up against Everton, as he was substituted off in the closing stages of the game for Trevoh Chalobah.
His exit from the France camp came as a surprise as Potter downplayed any injury concern, though it may suggest that the international break has come at the right time for the young centre-back and he can be fully fit after it. “Wes Fofana had to come off with fatigue, as he has had a long time out,” Potter explained. “He was feeling his hamstring. Wes was fantastic and defended well.”
Mason Mount dropped out of the England squad as he has missed the last four games through injury – the longest period since he broke into the Chelsea team. However, with a two-week period when he can rest and recuperate, Potter will hope that Mount can rejoin the squad at Stamford Bridge against Everton.
“As far as I was aware, he wasn’t going to be available for us at the weekend,” Potter said regarding the Everton draw. “He needed a bit of time for his injury to settle down, which pretty much ruled him out of the England thing.”