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Mauricio Pochettino confirms first Chelsea player to feature vs West Ham as fitness decision made



(Photo by IAN KINGTON/AFP via Getty Images)

Noni Madueke will feature for Chelsea against West Ham in the Premier League, head coach Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed.

The 21-year-old missed the whole of pre-season due to a minor hamstring injury, however he was an unused substitute in Chelsea’s opening game of the season against Liverpool last weekend.

Madueke was not brought on Pochettino during the 1-1 draw because the Argentine didn’t want to take any risks with the January signing, but things are set to change on Sunday at the London Stadium.

Chelsea are set to welcome back the Under-21 England international, who he won the European Championship with earlier this summer, with Pochettino outlining how well he has been training.

Noni Madueke controls the ball during the English Premier League football match between Chelsea and Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge in London on May 28, 2023. (Photo by JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP via Getty Images)

“He’s much better,” Pochettino said. “He would have been involved against Liverpool but it was too early.

“He was training really well during the week and he is going to be involved in the game against West Ham.”

Madueke returns to a side which is full of positivity and confidence following Pochettino’s arrival and he made sure to send a strong message to his teammates ahead of his first full season at the club.

He told Sky Sports and Premier League reporter Olivia Buzaglo: “I think if you start a season at Chelsea and don’t believe you can be challenging, you shouldn’t be in the building to be honest.

“If you look at our squad on paper, the depth, we’d be doing ourselves a disservice if we thought we couldn’t be right up there.