On Monday, Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma and midfielder Marco van Ginkel both completed a whole game for the first time since returning from respective knee injuries, playing the full 90 minutes and subsequent penalty kick shootout for Chelsea U23 against Oxford United in the EFL Trophy.
Afterwards, Adi Viveash spoke highly of Kurt Zouma, who’s expected to rejoin the first-team after the current international break.
“Kurt has been a privilege to work with. He’s a fine young player who works very hard every day and he’s been tremendous with the boys. It was a proper game for him and important that he came through 90 minutes against first team players. He looked quick and strong, was jumping up above the crossbar like he always does and his distribution was good so he’ll have felt the benefit of being involved.”
“He’s also been able to play on the right and in the middle of a back three in the last couple of games he’s been with us. I know he hasn’t played in that system much, as he spoke about before the game, so it’s been good for him in that sense as well to get some experience of playing those roles”
“His next challenge is to get back into our first team defence, which is performing extremely well at the minute, but what his return does is give the manager another excellent option in his squad.”
-Adi Viveash; source: Chelsea FC
The news around Van Ginkel is a bit less positive, though not in terms of the actual fitness, but rather in terms of his Chelsea future. A loan to PSV was almost a foregone conclusion in the summer, and something similar should be the expected outcome for this January as well, provided he stays healthy.
"I don’t think Marco [Van Ginkel] will go with the first-team, he is on a different programme to Kurt. Kurt [Zouma] is a major part of the first team."
"Marco has had loans before, he has trained with the first team at certain times before but certainly since he has came back he has been training with us to get the match fitness up before he goes out in January."
-Adi Viveash, source: Express
At the moment Chelsea have a bit of a logjam in midfield, with Nemanja Matic and N'Golo Kanté leading the charge while Nathaniel Chalobah, Cesc Fàbregas, and Mikel John Obi vie for the backup minutes. Even though Chelsea could register Van Ginkel as our 17th non-homegrown player in the Premier League squad in January, a loan is probably the best move for all parties involved.