Angry Pochettino ‘surprised’ by Gareth Southgate decision after Chelsea star suffers fresh setback

Angry Pochettino ‘surprised’ by Gareth Southgate decision after Chelsea star suffers fresh setback

Mauricio Pochettino admitted he was ‘surprised’ by England decision to start Ben Chilwell in both of their friendly matches over the course of the international break.

The Chelsea left-back has endured another injury interrupted season and struggled to recapture the form that marked him out as one of his side’s most important players under Thomas Tuchel.

Despite his recent struggles, the 26-year-old is likely to feature in Gareth Southgate’s plans for Euro 2024, particularly in light of the injury sustained by Luke Shaw that is likely to rule the Manchester United star out for the rest of the season.

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In the absence of his rival for the left-back role, Chilwell played for over an hour against Brazil last Saturday and completed 90 minutes as England forced a 2-2 draw against Belgium in midweek.

Pochettino revealed the former Leicester City defender damaged his knee in the closing stages against the Red Devils and believes his minutes could have been more carefully managed by Southgate.

‘We still need to assess a few players like Ben Chilwell as he got a knock to his leg,’ said Pochettino, speaking ahead of Saturday’s game against Burnley.

‘He wasn’t all right to train today so we will need to assess him ahead of tomorrow.

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‘I was a little bit surprised that he started two games for England and now he’s had a knock, but we need him available to play for our club.’

While the extent of Chilwell’s injury is unknown, Chelsea confirmed on Thursday that summer signing Romeo Lavia will not play against this season.

The Belgium international has managed just 32 minutes for his new club in what has been a nightmare maiden campaign at Stamford Bridge for the former Southamtpon midfielder.

‘Of course he’s not happy because he has only played 30 minutes as a new player for the club,’ said Pochettino.

‘It’s a shame but sometimes these things happen in football.

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‘We haven’t had the chance to train with him so it’s really sad because we will have to wait until next season for him to be available again.’

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