Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois finally returns to training

Thibaut Courtois Chelsea

Chelsea goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has returned to training with the first-team, three months after having picked up a knee injury. The Belgian international completed a training session with the squad, but isn’t expected to feature until next month. Asmir Begovic has deputised for the 23-year-old, but is likely to lose his place when Courtois is back to full fitness with Chelsea’s defensive record floundering in his absence.

The Blues have conceded 23 goals in 12 Premier League games this season, keeping just two clean sheets. Courtois could take time to complete his rehabilitation after damaging his medial ligaments, but manager Jose Mourinho will be delighted to see him back training. His No.2 Begovic can hardly be blamed for the side’s woeful title defence, with Courtois making four appearances in all competitions prior to his injury, conceded six goals and being sent off for his troubles.

Mourinho will be hoping Courtois’ influence on the Chelsea backline could see a turnaround in fortunes, but it will be some time before he starts for the Londoners. It’s clear they do miss him in part, considering the Belgian kept 13 clean sheets and conceded less than a goal a game as Chelsea coasted to the Premier League title last season. He won the La Liga title the previous summer with Atletico Madrid, keeping 20 clean sheets in 37 games, and was considered to be among the top-five goalkeepers in the world.

Chelsea did sign cover in the form of ex-AC Milan goalkeeper Marco Amelia in October, but the Italian international has yet to feature for his new club. He’s unlikely to get any game time now Courtois is returning, with Begovic more than capable as a secondary option, so the 33-year-old’s is set to be on the periphery. Mourinho favours having vastly experienced goalkeepers to provide cover between the sticks, and was convinced to keep Amelia as back up for Begovic for the last couple of months. Amelia‘s contract at Stamford Bridge will be up at the end of the season.

Jose Mourinho predicted a December return for Thibaut Courtois following the signing of Amelia last month, but his return could be held until after the Christmas fixture pile up, as so many games in such little time could prove to be too physically demanding for a player having been out for so long with a knee injury. Given how quickly Begovic has settled into the side, despite having conceded so many goals during in his stint in goal, when will Chelsea throw Courtois back in the mix?

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