When Rafa Benitez took over at Chelsea late in 2012, one player who looked to be an immediate beneficiary of the managerial change was Oriol Romeu. The former Barcelona midfielder had found himself marginalised under Roberto di matteo, and with Benitez coming in he was thrust right back into the thick of things. A few weeks later he tore his ACL at the Stadium of Light and was ruled out for the rest of the season. It was pretty unfortunate.
His recovery went just about as planned -- he even got some training in towards the end of the year -- and now he's back. Mostly. Even if it's not a real game, it's good to hear that the 21-year-old is getting some playing time in:
Although this season will hardly be make-or-break for Romeu, it's still an important one. If he manages to convince Jose Mourinho of his worth in the centre of midfield, he could go a long way. Otherwise, he's valuable depth. I'm not sure which is likely -- but I'm rooting for him, and I'm very glad he'll go into preseason without having to worry about his knee.
Welcome back, Oriol.