After the shortest break in professional football history, Chelsea are back at Cobham for “preseason” training.
With three weeks to go until the new season starts — and an international break to contend with in the meantime as well — there is little time to waste.
The players had already returned late last week for COVID-19 testing and some initial fitness assessments, but the work truly began yesterday with an actual training session out in the sunshine.
The session involved a bunch of first-team players, though that’s always a bit of guesswork as Chelsea do not release any sort of participant list — though Christian Pulisic and Billy Gilmour probably weren’t on account of their injuries.
César Azpilicueta was fit enough to join in — but of course! — as were N’Golo Kanté, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and both new boys, Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech. We can only assume players such as Michy Batshuayi, Ross Barkley, and Emerson were also involved but for some of them, the opposite can be just as easily assumed. Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount weren’t to be found on any pictures, nor was Fikayo Tomori, but Hudson-Odoi and Reece James were.
Thanks to some good sleuthing from @CarefreeYouth, we also know that at least eleven youngsters and loan returnees were involved as well, including some familiar names like Ethan Ampadu, Lewis Baker, Jake Clarke-Salter, and Conor Gallagher, but also some lesser knows (for now), such as Myles Peart-Harris, Harvey Vale (still just a baby), Luke McCormick, Juan Castillo, and Henry Lawrence. Young goalkeepers Karlo Ziger and Nathan “Man with the Plan” Baxter were also involved.
The first few days and weeks of preseason tend to involve expanded squads and numbers as loan moves and other such considerations get sorted out, but it’s nice to see the fresh faces and start speculating as to who might be the next to make the jump — and compete with all the big-money signings coming in!