'Still not the time': Tuchel says one member of his Chelsea squad has been training with the U16's and 18's

Thomas Tuchel revealed that Ben Chilwell has been training with the different age groups at Chelsea as part of his recovery process.

Quoted by the 5th Stand, Tuchel gave an insight into the defender’s current situation following his season-ending injury, one that includes working with the various youth teams.

Chilwell has been working his way back to full fitness ever since he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament against Juventus in November.

Wounding the ACL is generally perceived as the black mark in football; in the worst-case scenario, it can end careers.

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Fortunately, thanks to the advancements in technology and the expertise of medical staff, players can overcome their ACL trauma and, sometimes, return bigger and better.

Chelsea will certainly be hoping for this outcome for Chilwell, who has been sorely missed throughout the campaign.

The 25-year-old’s importance to the side was majorly highlighted during the period when both he and Reece James were out of action.

Tuchel lost two of his biggest forward threats, without much in the way of replacing their influence.

Ben Chilwell returns to training (sort of)

With James available again, the next step is to reintroduce Chilwell to the starting XI.

This is still some way off, as the left-back hasn’t properly been reintegrated into senior training.

“He has trained with the Under-16s and Under-18s to have football sessions,” Tuchel explained about the England international.

“It is nice to see him, he is very positive, and he cannot wait to start and be in team training again.

“It is still not the time but it is very important that he is that positive and that everything goes in the right way with the patience we need.”

It’s heating up with Chilly away

Fans probably won’t see Chilwell in competitive action until at least the beginning of next term.

Thanfully for Chelsea, they only have a handful of games left to cope without their wing-back.

Photo by Michael Regan – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images

But oh boy how badly Tuchel could do with Chilwell for the remaining fixtures.

His group face Leeds United tonight, knowing anything other than a win will throw their Champions League qualification up into the air.

After that, the FA Cup final against Liverpool on Saturday, before two matches at Stamford Bridge against Leicester City and Watford.

Ben, take your time, but please come back soon!

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.