Chelsea ace Ben Chilwell will miss months instead of weeks, with the defender now set to spend at least the next two months in the treatment room with a hamstring problem, the Telegraph reports.
The Blues vice-captain picked up the problem in the final knockings of last week’s 1-0 victory over Brighton & Hove Albion in the Carabao Cup third round.
Initial reports suggested the left-back will be out for four weeks, alleviating concerns he had picked up a severe injury even though Mauricio Pochettino admitted it didn’t look good after the game.
However, the Telegraph reports that Chilwell faces at least eight weeks on the sidelines depending on the outcome of his initial rehabilitation programme.
Chilwell has struggled to get going for Chelsea this season, returning one assist in seven appearances across all competitions, but he remains a vital cog in the team.
Levi Colwill has excelled in his absence, bagging an assist in Monday’s 2-0 win over Fulham, and the promising youngster looks set to continue in his new role until further notice.
Chilwell’s injury adds to the already concerning number of Chelsea players currently confined to the treatment room, but it also poses a problem for England head coach Gareth Southgate.
The defender’s injury rules him out of this month’s international break, leaving the Three Lions without a recognised left-back for their fixtures against Australia and Italy.
Southgate will have to get creative to come up with a solution, although there are a couple of options he could consider, including slotting in Colwill, who has excelled in that area for Chelsea.
Considering England’s embarrassment of talents at right back, Southgate could also turn to Kieran Trippier at left-back, having previously deployed the Newcastle United captain in the role.
Chilwell will miss Chelsea’s jampacked schedule after the international break, with Pochettino’s side set to feature seven times before December.
They face a daunting run of Premier League fixtures that includes Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City and Newcastle, with a Carabao Cup fourth-round tie against Blackburn Rovers sandwiched in-between.
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