Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia could soon be available following injury, according to Mauricio Pochettino, who has also discussed the fitness of Reece James and Cole Palmer's recent performances.

Over the past month, Mauricio Pochettino has welcomed several players back into the first-team fold following injury. Benoit Badiashile and Armando Broja have featured for the first time in 2023/24 and, on Monday night, Reece James made his first Premier League start since the opening weekend of the season.

That trio could soon be joined by two more players. Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia have yet to make their competitive debuts for Chelsea after suffering injuries shortly after joining the club in the summer.

However, our head coach provided an update on their recovery, confirming both players are eager to be available for selection in the near future.

'I had a conversation with Christopher and he said to me he wanted to be involved after the international break, against Newcastle,' revealed Pochettino. 'I asked yesterday and he wasn’t as sure, so I told him he is a liar! In a good way, though.

'I think he’s close and he is doing really well. We are so happy with him in the way that he is doing his recovery. He is very professional.

'Romeo Lavia is also close, they were both training today on the pitch. We hope that next week they will be involved with the team and we will assess day by day to see when they can start to play and help the team.'

Pochettino also provided an update on James' return, with our captain remaining at Cobham during the upcoming international break to monitor his progress after returning to make his first Premier League start since August in Monday's 4-1 win at Tottenham Hotspur.

'It’s about taking the best decision for the player, the national team, and Chelsea,' said Pochettino. 'It’s not a decision for Reece. He is desperate to go, he wants to go, but there are two parts: the national team and the club. They have to make the best decision for him.

'After the problems, he is starting to feel fit again. I am happy we will be with us because it’s two weeks to work with him again, and I’m sure he will have the opportunity to join the national team in the future.’

Another Chelsea player who will not be involved in the England squad next week is Raheem Sterling, and Mauricio discussed the situation for players hoping to stake their claim for inclusion at international level.

'It’s difficult to talk because I don’t want to say anything about the decision, because Gareth Southgate is the coach and we need to respect his decision. All I can say is Raheem, Reece and all the English players have the spirit to go to the national team because they really love to be involved with the national team.

'Sometimes they feel disappointed because they are not but the only way to change the situation is working hard with your club and showing you deserve to be there and respect the decision of the coach. But they are desperate to be involved in the national team. The decision is not in their hands, it is just in their hands to perform.'

Pochettino also discussed the development of Nicolas Jackson, who scored the first hat-trick of his career against Tottenham on Monday evening.

‘It’s always a process and it [the hat-trick against Tottenham] has not changed my view,' explained Pochettino. 'Nico is still young and needs to be more mature and improve. He scored three goals, ok, he should’ve scored six. That is the idea: it’s never enough.

'The important thing is to stay calm and relaxed. Nico is a talented player, who will improve in time and score goals. Nights like Monday will help him be less nervous and approach the game in a different way.’

There were also words for Cole Palmer, who joined the Blues in the summer from Sunday's opponents, Manchester City, and has scored three goals in his past four Premier League matches.

'I think he’s a clever guy who adapts really quickly,' said Pochettino. 'We are building a team and he was quick to see the situation, take it, show character and personality, and then good performances.

'We are so happy with him, but I think he still needs to improve. It’s special for him to play against his former club and team-mates. We trust in him. He needs to improve but he’s showing real quality.'