Frank Lampard has reported that Antonio Rudiger, Mateo Kovacic and Pedro are all fit to be involved as the Premier League returns this weekend with a trip to Molineux for the Blues, although N’Golo Kante remains sidelined.
The boss was asked in his press conference at Cobham this afternoon to provide a fitness update on those players who missed out on featuring for their national teams during the recent international break.
‘Rudiger is fit to play,’ Lampard declared. ‘He’s been very important for the club and the team since he’s been here with his personality, character and quality and we’ve missed him. Everyone talks about how young we are and how young we’re becoming so we need leaders within that and Rudiger needs to take on the responsibility of being a leader for us.
‘Kovacic is fit to play but N’Golo is not fit yet,’ he continued. ‘He still has issues with his ankle and the medical team are working with him. He’s in a bit of a transitional period now where we’re trying to get him on the pitch and he’s doing some physical work but this game comes too soon for him.’
Lampard also confirmed that Pedro had recovered from a hamstring injury sustained in the warm-up at Carrow Road in our last away game. For those who have remained at Cobham during the international period, it has been a time for work and rest.
‘We lose a lot of players to the internationals so the ones that have been here have been working and resting,’ he explained. ‘You have to give them some days to spend with their families, which we did at the front-end of the break, and then working more on condition really because we’re still in the early stage of the season.
‘There’s not so much tactical work you can do without the big group but the lads have worked hard and we now have the rest of the players back relatively fit so we’re ready for the weekend.’
Finally, Lampard was asked about the involvement of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James for our development squad at Stamford Bridge tonight, noting it as the latest step in their return to selection contention.
‘Callum is going to play for the Under-23s this evening, along with Reece James, so they’ll get minutes which is important now,’ he added.
‘Callum has been training with us for a while but there are still some issues with the actual injury itself that we need to make sure are okay. He’ll need to get match fit so these games are really beneficial for him.
‘Reece has not had such a long time out but he needs games for similar reasons. They’re two young players who are going to be big for this club going forward so we’ll all be watching tonight.’