Antonio Conte isn't set to start his job as Chelsea head coach until Monday, but several players who will be hoping to impress the new boss of their quality are already back at Cobham, getting a head start on the new season.
Per Chelsea TV's report, the initial training group comprises mostly of older players who were out on loan last season, as well as a few younger players from the Academy. Not everyone was mentioned by name, but the ones who were include Marko Marin (best pre-season player of all time), Papy Djilobodji (who needs Koulibaly, when you got Big Papy!?), Tomas Kalas (Hero of Anfield), Nathaniel Chalobah (is this his year, finally?), Lucas Piazon (oh right, him), Patrick Bamford (fresh off of a completely wasted season), Alex Kiwomya (and his new contract), Kasey Palmer (who's been linked with a loan move to Huddersfield), and Marco van Ginkel (who's been linked with a return to PSV).
Per the inimitable @chelseayouth, Ola Aina was also out there, which is hopefully a good sign as far as a new contract goes. (No news on John Swift.) Other youth standouts like Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke are currently on England U19 duty.
The training session was led by "technical coach" Eddie Newton and assisted by Paulo Ferreira and Joe Edwards. The latter two will be the loanee liaisons this season, a role that Newton had fulfilled in the past as well.
Both the first-team and the youth teams will be heading off to a proper training camp in Austria in short order, with some of the ones already back now certainly hoping to join Conte's group.
Football's almost back!