Eden Hazard joining up with Belgium during the international break could benefit Chelsea, according to the Premier League champions’ head coach Antonio Conte.
Hazard has not played competitively since suffering a broken ankle in training with Belgium in June, although he did return to action for Chelsea’s development side against Everton on Friday.
The playmaker looked on as the respective senior teams met at Stamford Bridge on Sunday, where Cesc Fabregas and Alvaro Morata sealed a 2-0 win.
Belgium boss Roberto Martinez has named the 26-year-old in his squad for the World Cup qualifiers against Gibraltar and Greece – something that was greeted quizzically by Conte pre-match but he has now softened his stance
“I had a conversation with Roberto yesterday and I think, now, it could be positive for Eden to go with the national team and have the training sessions,” he told reporters.
“Then, yes, maybe to have the possibility to play a part of the game with Gibraltar. I told Roberto that, if I can help him, I’m ready to do this because, in my past, I was coach of the national team. I know very well that his task is not easy.
“For Eden, I spoke with the player and the player is happy to go and stay with the national team. He’s the captain.
“But the most important thing is to continue to work very hard to improve, then have the possibility to bring him to the bench after the international break and start to think he’s a new player for Chelsea this season.”
One genuinely new player is record signing Morata, who made it two goals in as many home league games since joining from Juventus and Conte is encouraged by the Spain international’s overall contribution.
Great win at Stamford Bridge!! Amazing atmosphere!!pic.twitter.com/i5hat08oFk
— Álvaro Morata (@AlvaroMorata) August 27, 2017
“He scored a really good goal and I’m pleased for him,” he added. “When you arrive at a new club and you are a striker, to score is very important.
“It’s not easy for a striker, and the midfielders, to arrive and adapt very quickly to our philosophy.
“Above all the strikers, who I need to stay in position as a point of reference. To adapt to our style is not easy and you need time. But I am pleased for him.”
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