Callum Hudson-Odoi was forced to miss out on Chelsea’s behind-closed-doors friendly against QPR on Sunday due to an ankle knock, but the winger has overcome the injury to give Frank Lampard a full squad of options ahead of the Premier League’s restart.
The 19-year-old will be aiming to take to the pitch against Aston Villa this coming weekend, having missed the Blues’ 7-1 drubbing of QPR which followed on from a 1-0 victory over Reading at Chelsea’s Cobham Training Centre.
Fellow youngster Reece James had missed several sessions through injury but was able to play a part in the club’s latest warm-up clash. In addition, N’Golo Kante started against QPR after originally staying away from training due to fear of contracting Covid-19.
The France international only began ‘phase two’ contact training last week after Premier League clubs were given the green light to return to training three weeks ago.
In general, the lockdown period following the coronavirus outbreak has allowed Lampard to see some of his players come back after an injury crisis hit the club before the stoppage.
Mateo Kovacic, Tammy Abraham and Christian Pulisic were all out ahead of the break in play in March but are since back fit.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s two goals against QPR gives Lampard cause for optimism after he has spent over a year out following tearing his achilles tendon in a post-season friendly against the New England Revolution.
Lampard had been cautious about using the England international due to a lack of match fitness and has allowed him to play for the U23s to quicken his return.
Despite the good news, Chelsea still have to be prepared for injuries as they aim to play out their last nine league games – and their FA Cup matches – which are scheduled to finish before 1 August as part of a hugely busy fixture list.
Lampard and his coaching team have called upon the best of the academy to boost the squad as their teams at various youth levels saw their seasons cancelled.
After signing a new deal, Tino Anjorin has featured heavily in the pre-restart friendlies but there has also been minutes for Armando Broja, Ian Maatsen, Lewis Bate, Henry Lawrence and Tino Livramento.
Anjorin and Broja had made their debuts on 8 March in Chelsea’s last match before play was suspended, a clash in which they won 4-0 against Everton in the Premier League.
Chelsea remain in fourth place in the league as they look to qualify for next season’s Champions League once again. They will also prepare for a quarter-final match away at Leicester City on 28 June in the FA Cup.
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