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PICTURES: Over a dozen players back for first day of 2022-23 Chelsea preseason

New beginnings

Chelsea Return to Pre-Season Training
The boys are back in town!
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Having celebrated a milestone birthday yesterday, here’s another strong reminder of the unerring and relentless passage of time for yours truly: Chelsea 2022-23 preseason is officially under way, with over a dozen players returning to Cobham today for the first day of training.

Question: didn’t last season just end yesterday?

Answer: no, it ended five weeks ago, though we then had national team games that extended the season for many. Those players will begin to filter back over the next couple weeks, with most if not all expected to rejoin in time for the USA Tour coming up in mid-July.

As far as who was in today, it’s a mix of hopefuls and hopelesses. Ben Chilwell and Callum Hudson-Odoi, back from ACL and Achilles injuries, respectively, had been training with the Development Squad for the past week already. They were now joined by Trevoh Chalobah, Malang Sarr, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ross Barkley, Kenedy, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcus Bettinelli, and Hakim Ziyech: first-team players from last season who were not involved in internationals this summer, but also whose futures may not be too assured at the moment (though only Ziyech, Kepa, and Loftus-Cheek have featured in the rumor mill in any significant capacity so far).

These familiar faces were joined by a few less familiar, but in many ways more exciting and intriguing faces, such as Levi Colwill, Ian Maatsen, Tino Anjorin, and Dujon Sterling — youngsters back from mostly successful loan stints ready to perhaps stake their claim on available first-team spots.

Sporting the new Nike training range emblazoned with everyone’s favorite corporate sponsor, here are the boys of summer, hair combed back, sunglasses on, with a love still strong.

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