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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 October 2018

Chelsea could field Ruben Loftus-Cheek for Europa League game against Vidi

England midfielder has recovered from shin problem and could be included, with Pedro another possible change after winger shrugs off shoulder problem

Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri reckons Ruben Loftus-Cheek was unlucky due to injury. Reuters
Chelsea manager Maurizio Sarri reckons Ruben Loftus-Cheek was unlucky due to injury. Reuters

Ruben Loftus-Cheek could feature for Chelsea in Thursday's Europa League clash with Hungarian champions Vidi, with Maurizio Sarri set to make changes.

The England midfielder has recovered from a shin problem, manager Sarri said, and could be included, with Pedro another possible change after the winger shrugged off a shoulder problem.

"I have to speak to Pedro," Sarri said. "He's doing better, like Loftus-Cheek. And so I think tomorrow every player is available.

"I have to change five, six, seven players - I don't know at the moment [how many]."

Sarri dropped a bigger hint that Thursday would be Loftus-Cheek's first start of the season.

"Maybe tomorrow it's time to see Loftus-Cheek, I think," Sarri added.

"He was unlucky in the last three weeks, after the national team [break]. He had a problem. In the last five, six days, he has been better, so I think he is able to play tomorrow."

Chelsea opened their Group L campaign with a 1-0 win at PAOK in Greece and Sarri wants to go all the way in the competition and win his first trophy while also qualifying for the Uefa Champions League.

"I think at the moment for my club it's more important to be in the Champions League," Sarri added. "To play in the Champions League is more important at the moment. I want to arrive in the end in the Europa League.

"I am here to win, I want to win, I want to win something. I hope to be able to do it."

Loftus-Cheek will hope to be involved in the England squad for the forthcoming matches with World Cup runners-up Croatia and Spain.

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Ross Barkley seems to have received a new lease of life under Maurizio Sarri. Reuters
Ross Barkley seems to have received a new lease of life under Maurizio Sarri. Reuters

So also will Ross Barkley, who seems to have been given a new lease of life under Sarri.

"He is improving week by week," Sarri said about the former Everton midfielder. "I think that he can improve more, because he has the potential to improve more. And so I think he can return to the national team.

"He has played more than the last season in two months."

Barkley is optimistic of being included in Gareth Southgate's England squad on Thursday.

"I'm playing a big role in the side at the minute," Barkley, 24, said, "and I believe my performances show I'm capable of being in the England squad, hopefully."