Chelsea star suffer injury ahead of Newcastle game

 Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino will be sweating over the fitness of Malo Gusto following his withdrawal from the France under-21 squad due to a reported injury. The Blues could be at risk of being left short at right-back if Gusto fails to recover in time for the return of Premier League football, with Reece James prone to picking up injuries despite being fit at the moment.

Gusto has featured regularly for Chelsea since joining the club last January, either as a starter in the absence of James or coming off the bench. However, it seems as though he is facing a race against time to be fit for Chelsea's next match against Newcastle after the international break.

The 20-year-old has withdrawn from France's under-21 squad due to a minor knee ligament problem, according to L'Equipe. He was initially called up by head coach Thierry Henry for their upcoming games against Austria and South Korea but will instead be recovering away from the group as he eyes a quick return to fitness.

The extent of the injury is yet to be fully discovered and can vary in severity depending on the grade surrounding it. A grade one tear is only a small issue, taking between one and three weeks to recover from, while the most severe case is said to take six weeks or more.

Mauricio Pochettino will be sweating over the fitness of injured defender Malo Gusto (Image: GETTY)

It comes after James chose not to join up with the England senior squad in order to prioritise his recovery from a hamstring issue, which has been carefully managed by Pochettino in recent weeks. He was selected to start in the draw against Manchester City on Sunday but was replaced by Gusto in the second half, with James yet to complete a full 90 minutes for the Blues this season.

Chelsea will be hoping to have both players available when they face Newcastle later this month in order to avoid potentially being left short on the right side of defence. The west Londoners are on a three-match unbeaten run in all competitions but will face a stern test against the Magpies, who could move up to sixth in the Premier League table with a victory if other results go their way.

Gusto has withdrawn from France's under-21 squad due to a minor injury (Image: GETTY)

Pochettino has already had his fair share of injuries to deal with at Chelsea this season, with the likes of Christopher Nkunku, Ben Chilwell, Romeo Lavia and Levi Colwill among those to have been affected. The Argentine boss was quizzed on the club's injury concerns earlier in the campaign and said: "Before we arrived here, we did everything to have a clearer idea why there were too many injuries last season also.

"We analysed the map of risk, and then it is the profile of the player, the risk of the player. It’s not the methodology, it’s not the people working in the medical staff or the coaching staff in the performance area. We need to respect in these areas are very good professionals, qualified people.

"When you assess our players there is some risk of injury you need to assess, and then, of course, bad luck. We have had injuries that would maybe happen over a whole season, or maybe two. There are different situations you cannot control."


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