Nkunku and Lavia ‘close’ to return – Pochettino

Chelsea boss Maurico Pochettino believes summer signings Christopher Nkunku and Romeo Lavia will be available soon.

Nkunku has had to wait to make his competitive debut for the Blues after suffering a knee injury during pre-season.

He has told Pochettino he can be ready for the Premier League game against Newcastle after the international break.

That seems ambitious and one of the following games seems a more realistic target for Nkunku – Chelsea also face Newcastle in December, in the Carabao Cup.

Pochettino explained: “We had some conversation and he said to me ‘I want to be ready after the international break, for Newcastle’.

“It is close and he is really well. We are happy with him. Romeo Lavia is also close. They trained today on the pitch – and hopefully (training) with the team next week.”

Meanwhile, Pochettino insisted that Reece James not joining the England squad for this month’s internationals is a sensible move given that the Chelsea captain has only just returned from injury.

Pochettino said: “It’s never the decision of the player. The medical staff, sports science and coaching staff always take the decisions, not the player.

“Reece is desperate to go to the national team and I only think this will be good for the national team and Chelsea also. But it’s not a decision by him.”