LONDON (Reuters) - Belgian forward Eden Hazard could return for champions Chelsea’s Premier League clash at Leicester City on Saturday after fully recovering from the fractured ankle he sustained in June.
The 26-year-old is yet to play for Chelsea this season but made two substitute appearances for Belgium in World Cup qualifiers against Gibraltar and Greece last week.
“Now he is available, he is in the list for the squad,” Chelsea manager Antonio Conte told reporters on Friday.
“He is improving a lot, he is working very strong to be ready. Now I can count on him. I have to decide the right minutes, but he is available now.”
Conte had initially expressed surprise that Hazard had been called up for international duty, although he later softened his stance saying it could be beneficial for the player.
“When there is a bad injury and surgery, it is normal to pay attention to his recovery,” Conte said on Friday.
”I spoke with Roberto Martinez and we tried the right way to improve his (Hazard‘s) fitness and I was very happy he played against Gibraltar and 20 minutes against Greece.
“I was totally in agreement with him.”
Conte said he has a full squad to choose from ahead of the clash with the 2015-16 champions, although striker Diego Costa is still absent with a loan move to Turkish club Fenerbahce being reported by British media as a possibility for the Spaniard.
“No, no news on him,” Conte said. “My focus is on the Premier League, not Turkey.”
Conte was also asked whether he was happy with Chelsea’s transfer window activity, having signed the likes of striker Alvaro Morata from Real Madrid, midfielder Danny Drinkwater from Leicester and right back Davide Zappacosta from Torino.
“It’s difficult to answer. We have to wait until the end of the season and then I can reply very well,” he said.
“The club tried to do its best in this window. Now it is closed and it’s time to continue to work. To work with these players and I am very happy to work with the players we have.”
Reporting by Martyn Herman; Editing by Toby Davis