Thomas Tuchel welcomed several of his first-team stars back to Cobham today as Chelsea’s pre-season moved into its second phase.
The Blues head coach has spent the first fortnight working with a group largely consisting of players who spent last season out on loan, academy graduates returning from long-term injuries and illnesses, and a clutch of regular senior players, including Edouard Mendy, Marcos Alonso, Christian Pulisic, Hakim Ziyech, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Tammy Abraham.
That is the group that travelled out to Ireland earlier this week for a pre-season training camp and they were expected to be joined during their week-long stay outside of Dublin by the players who were eliminated from Euro 2020 at the round of 16.
However, Chelsea opted to cancel their stay at the Carton House Hotel early after a player tested positive for Covid-19 and they flew back to England yesterday.
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The Blues will now continue pre-season at Cobham and today Tuchel welcomed back nine players to undertake their first session.
N’Golo Kante is back at Chelsea after his summer off, as is fellow French international Kurt Zouma. German trio Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Antonio Rudiger have also rejoined the first-team group.
Mateo Kovacic, who was in action for Croatia at Euro 2020, is the other major first-team star to make his return today.
Three players who spent last season out on loan away from Chelsea also reported back for their first training sessions of the summer.
Kenedy, who has been in self-isolation for the past ten days, made his return, as did Tiemoue Bakayoko, who spent last season on loan at Napoli.
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Michy Batshuayi, who was part of the Belgium squad at this summer’s European Championship, is also at Cobham for pre-season. Although like Kenedy and Bakyoko, his long-term future is likely to lie away from Stamford Bridge.
In the coming days, Tuchel will cut down his first-team group, which now stands at over 30 players, with more players set to return in the week ahead.
Chelsea’s second game of pre-season will be played on Tuesday night as the Blues make the short journey down to the south coast to take on Bournemouth.