Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed that Levi Colwill and Reece James will both be involved against Newcastle United tomorrow, while updating on the progress of Christopher Nkunku, Wesley Fofana and Romeo Lavia as they continue their return from injury.

Many of the Chelsea players have returned to Cobham in the last couple of days following international duty, as Mauricio Pochettino prepares his squad for the trip north to face Newcastle United in the Premier League tomorrow.

Our head coach confirmed that there were no further injury concerns for those returning, while Levi Colwill and Reece James are both set to feature at St James’ Park after withdrawing from the England squad due to injury and fitness concerns.

‘The last one back was Moi Caicedo, who arrived from Ecuador,’ said Pochettino. ‘They already know the starting 11 for tomorrow, but I’m not going to make that public yet. They all arrived in a normal condition so then it was just the decision to pick the starting 11.

‘Colwill is going to be in the squad. We’ll see tomorrow how much James can play. Reece is doing well, he’s at a very good level, he’s improving every day. We are so happy with him and hope that he can cope with the demand of 90 minutes and we’ll see tomorrow if he can cope with that. Now he is one player you know is going to play!’

Unfortunately, Pochettino also revealed hopes that Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia might be ready to return to the squad at Newcastle haven’t been realised, as both players still need more time before they are ready for action.

‘Lavia and Nkunku are still out. There is no timeframe for them, it is difficult to say because we need to assess them day-by-day. They are in a good condition, Nkunku a little bit ahead of Lavia. He was doing things with the group last week but it is still not a full recovery to be part of the squad.’

He expanded on Nkunku’s progress and stressed that for all the French forward’s talents, it is important to balance expectations for his immediate return with the understanding it could take time for him to fully recover his form while adjusting to his first season in the Premier League.

‘Last week he was only involved in a few training sessions, still it is not a full recovery to be part of the tactical session. Now is about recovering from his injury.

‘He’s a fantastic player who was the top scorer in the Bundesliga last season and he can play in different positions. His quality is amazing and he’s an experienced player.

‘It was really bad luck to lose him from the beginning of the season and not have the possibility for him to help the team. Still I think we are going to find the best way for him to fit in the team.

‘Now he is going to find massive competition because all his team-mates are ahead of him because for the last four months they were competing and he needs again to build his form and be at this best level. Then to compete with players who are competing for months is a big challenge for him.

‘We need to understand that he comes from an injury so he needs time. We’re going to need to be patient with him to start to compete, play and discover again the competition.

‘Then it’s not a competition that he was normally used to playing and he can recover the feelings from last season or the season before. He is a player who came from the Bundesliga and he needs now not only to recover from his injury, but get to know the league. He’s going to need time to perform at his best.’

Pochettino was pleased to see Fofana back on the grass
Pochettino was pleased to see Fofana back on the grass

Mauricio also provided an update on another French international we are yet to see in action this season, after Wesley Fofana took his first steps out on the training pitch following injury last week, even if it was only for some light running during these early stages of his recovery.

‘It was nice to see him running on the grass,’ added Pochettino. ‘For him it’s a massive motivation to be there, and I think for us also to see him after a long time away from the pitch.

‘It is good that he can start to feel the grass, but I don’t know when he will be ready to help the team. I think it will be next year.’

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