By Johnny Edward
Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has hinted that Eden Hazard is in contention to make his first appearance of the English Premier League season for the Blues after recovering from an ankle injury which kept him out of action for three months, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.
Conte believes Saturday’s hosts Leicester City are not to to be taken lightly having won the 2015/2016 title.
“Two seasons ago they (Leicester City) won the title,” Conte said during his pre-match press conference on Friday. “I think this season I watched their previous game and saw a team very strong. They lost a game against Arsenal and at the end we must pay great attention. When you have Vardy and Mahrez you must pay great attention. Great experience with Morgan and Fuchs.
“Now he (Eden Hazard) is available, he is in the list for the squad. He is improving a lot, he is working very strong to be ready. Now I can count on him. I have to decide the right minutes, but he is available now. When there is a bad injury and surgery, it is normal to pay attention to his recovery. Don’t forget he is an important player for us, to play soon.”
“I spoke with (Belgium coach) Roberto (Martinez) and we tried the right way to improve his fitness. I was very happy for him to play against Gibraltar and 30 minutes against Greece. I totally agreed with him.”
Conte also revealed that deadline day signings Danny Drinkwater and Davide Zappacosta are also available for selection.
He said: “Danny, we are working with him and trying to make him in the best physical condition. It is normal when the transfer window, when you go into another team it’s not simple. He is a good buy for us, he has improved his condition and in the squad for the Leicester game but I don’t know when he is ready to play.
“He (Zappacosta) is a good player, a young player. He can improve. He is a wing-back, sometimes he can play on the left. He is ready and you will see very soon his performance. This is a great chance, he arrives in a great club and can go into this club with the right mentality.
“Torino is a good team with a great history. There is good pressure there, but to play in another country is not easy. But he has the right characteristics. He played against Israel, shows he is in good condition. I worked with him and he knows my style of football. For him it is more simple for him to adapt our style.”
The Italian coach also refused to compare Leicester centre-back Harry Maguire and Chelsea legend John Terry. He said: “He has the right characteristic to play in the national team. To compare Maguire and John is very difficult. He played a lot of games for the national team and was a legend of Chelsea.”