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Frank Lampard rules quartet out of weekend Watford trip

N’Golo Kante and Antonio Rudiger remain unavailable for selection for Frank Lampard ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Watford in the Premier League, while the weekend also comes too soon for Ross Barkley and Andreas Christensen.

Lampard provided the update at his weekly Friday press conference at Cobham with Andreas Christensen, along with Barkley and Kante, closing in on returning to full fitness.

However, despite comments attributed to Rudiger claiming he was nearing a comeback, Lampard blamed a miscommunication and insisted the German remained sidelined.

‘He’s not fit,’ reported the boss. ‘I saw the quotes but there’s a miscommunication somewhere and he’s going to see a consultant on Monday because he has an ongoing issue in his pelvic area which is bothering him. We’ll have to wait until then for a further update.

‘N’Golo is close,’ continued Lampard. ‘He’s working with the team now and will possibly be ready for Ajax next week.’

Christensen and Barkley have been missing for the past couple of weeks but the duo remain on course for an imminent return. However, Lampard also stressed the need for progression on return from injury and highlighted the need for players to be ready for match action before he would consider them for selection.

‘Ross is still not quite right but he’s not far away,’ he added. ‘Andreas is pretty much fit as well but they just have to add the finishing touches in terms of the difference between being fit and match-fit.

‘I’m quite big that the players come back into training at the level that they left so they’re then ready to play games because they can’t just walk straight back in after injuries so there has to be some progression.

‘Every player in the squad who’s not available is disappointing but it comes with the territory. The players will be more frustrated than anyone else because there’s nothing worse as a player when you can’t have an influence on what the team is doing every week.

‘It’s disappointing for me because I want to be able to select from them but of course that brings opportunities for other players because we need to maintain levels.’

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