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Media Watch: Van Ginkel returns, Leeds star explains Lampard relationship and Merson believes Blues are still title challengers

In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, Marco van Ginkel played his first minutes since 2018 and Jack Harrison explains his relationship with Frank Lampard from New York City.

These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.

Van Ginkel back in action

Marco van Ginkel returned to first-team football last night after being sidelined with a knee injury for two years.

The Dutch midfielder who is currently on loan at PSV Eindhoven came on in the 86th minute against AZ Alkmaar to reach a significant milestone.

‘Personally, this is a highlight for me,’ the midfielder told ESPN. ‘I worked hard for it and it took a long time. Being back now feels like a reward.

‘At home, I’m going to put things into perspective for a moment, that’s a lot. In the end, I worked hard for it and I’m proud to be back.’

Van Ginkel will be looking forward to regaining his full fitness and also admits that it was such a long journey he was on, he lost count of the time he was out.

‘Almost a thousand days?’ he asked. ‘I just heard, yes. In the end I stopped counting the days. They are not the most important either.

‘I was only working on my recovery, hoping to be able to play football again.’

Harrison explains Lampard relationship

Leeds United winger Jack Harrison described the impact our head coach Frank Lampard had on his career during their spell playing together in the MLS.

Harrison broke into the New York City first team when Lampard made his move to America and admits having another Englishman helped his development.

The winger spoke on the Que Golazo podcast to give an insight into his experience with our head coach.

‘I probably keep in contact with Lampard the most as he is in England,’ Harrison said. ‘We were always close when we were in New York and it’s nice to see him doing so well with Chelsea.’

The Englishman has faced Lampard four times since he became a manager and admitted he tries to play well against him to show how good he is.

‘Whenever I play against Frank I always try and prove a point to him although last time I didn’t do too well against Chelsea. I’m hoping to redeem myself the next time we play them.’

In the MLS, Harrison was also team-mates with another midfield legend in Andrea Pirlo and believes both the Italian and Lampard doing well as managers can act as a source of motivation.

‘It’s always nice to see where these guys are now because they had the right mentality. Even in New York, they could’ve taken it as a retirement league as everyone calls it and relaxed a bit.

‘They always pushed themselves and that’s something I admired about them. They still had the right attitude and mentality to be part of that team so it’s no surprise to see them doing well.’

Merson still sees Chelsea as title challengers

Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Merson believes the Blues are still title challengers and highlights our Fulham game on Saturday as a crucial fixture.

Frank Lampard’s men returned to winning ways with our 4-0 win against Morecambe last weekend. According to Merson, the Blues should take advantage of the extended break to overcome Fulham who played Tottenham last night.

‘Chelsea have all the advantage on Saturday now because of Fulham having played midweek,’ Merson said in his Sky Sports column. ‘It’s a massive football match, and it’s a big local derby.’

Merson believes if the Blues beat Fulham and go on a run similar to the 17 games we went unbeaten earlier this season, Chelsea could find ourselves as title challengers.

‘The way the season is going, if you can win three games on the trot, you're back in it,’ he said. 'If you put a run of five wins together, you’re probably top of the league. That wasn’t the case last year.

‘That’s why I still don’t think Chelsea are out of it. Whoever you are, put five wins together and you’re in it.’

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