Reece James will start his first match for Chelsea in almost three months when they take on Blackburn Rovers in the Carabao Cup on Wednesday.
The Blues captain has not started for the Blues since the season opener against Liverpool, with Reece James return to action constituting of two cameos off the bench against Arsenal, where he played six minutes, and Brentford, where he got 23 minutes.
But boss Mauricio Pochettino, while keen to keep most of his team secret, was thrilled to confirm James would feature from the off.
‘I can confirm he is going to start,’ Pochettino said.
‘The captain is ready. It’s good for the team, it’s good for him to start from the beginning. We can see after, checking always how he is performing.’
Pochettino and Chelsea are enduring a tough season to date and defeat at home to Brentford leaves them slumped 11th in the Premier League.
But Wednesday night’s visit from Championship opposition means they have a strong chance of reaching the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, something Pochettino is not ready to overlook.
‘I told you before, at the start of the season, a competition like the Carabao Cup or FA Cup is really important for us,’ he said.
‘Tomorrow, we will try to play with our best team. Some players we will need to rest because after Saturday’s game we can’t take risks. But in general, we will try to play our best team.
‘All the players need to be ready to play tomorrow, and then we will decide. We are going to take it very seriously because we want to go far. This is a competition we can go through in.’
He added: ‘It’s important for us to go forward in this competition, to build momentum, and after go to Tottenham and receive Manchester City with the trust and the confidence we can beat them also.’
One player who will not be involved is Ben Chilwell, with the injured left back over in Los Angeles.
Pochettino revealed that a change of scene was always part of ‘the plan’ as the full-back rehabs a hamstring injury that is set to keep him out until December.
‘The plan was to change the scenario for him,’ Pochettino added.
‘That happens in different clubs. When it’s a long period of recovery, sometimes we change the scenarios for them.
‘Twelve hours here every day, it’s a fantastic training ground, but sometimes the player needs to change the atmosphere and the scenario to keep their recovery in a good way. It’s still difficult to know when he will be back.’