Perhaps one day we'll find out just exactly what it was that has kept Ryan Bertrand out of action for over two months. At least today Mourinho was kind enough to reveal that it was a knee problem, which provides a bit of clarity beyond what was previously termed a knock. Ah, the good ol' knock, the football equivalent of the "upper/lower body injury" of hockey. In any case, some knock, that, to keep him out this long.
But now he's back and fit and good timing, too, to boost the fullback numbers following Branislav Ivanovic's injury. He may even get the start on Sunday, considering that he was fit enough for the bench at Southampton already, only to see Tomas Kalas get chosen instead on account of the young Czech's versatility. In an ideal world, we'll see Kalas out there at Derby as well.
After his best season ever for Chelsea last year - 25 starts and 38 appearances in all competitions, following on from his start in the Champions League final - it looked like he had finally broken down all the barriers and all the narratives on his way from Chelsea academy to Chelsea first team. However, with just three starts in 15 matches before the injury and the emergence of Cesar Azpilicueta as our best left back, Bertrand's future now looks a bit more grim once again. On cue, transfer rumors linking him with either Liverpool (injury crisis at the position) or Everton (as the second chess piece in a sale of Leighton Baines) have been cropping up rather frequently.
He does have three and a half years left on his current deal, so there's no need to rush things. He could very well be a long-term backup for us - he has plenty of quality for that - but at he moment, he would probably have to look elsewhere to become an automatic first-choice. That's not to say he couldn't yet become Cole's natural successor; he's still only 24 and we do know he has the ambition: