Chelsea without Barkley, Kanté and Rudiger for Ajax clash
Ross Barkley, N'Golo Kanté and Antonio Rudiger have not travelled with Frank Lampard's squad for Wednesday's Matchday 3 game against Ajax.
Chelsea will be without Ross Barkley, N'Golo Kanté and Antonio Rudiger for Wednesday's Champions League clash with Ajax, manager Frank Lampard has confirmed. The Blues face Ajax in Amsterdam having claimed three points from their first two games and they will be well aware of the test Erik ten Hag's men pose.
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Injuries will make Chelsea's challenge even trickier against opponents who have won successive games at the start of the group stage, as Barkley, Kanté and Rudiger are all absent from the squad. Kanté suffered a groin injury on international duty with France, Barkley sustained a "nasty" ankle problem against Newcastle United on Saturday and Rudiger is still out with a pelvic issue.
Lampard issues injury update on trio
Lampard expressed concern for Barkley after the Newcastle win, though he expects the England midfielder to be back in training this week. "They're obviously all not here," he told reporters. "Ross will hopefully be fit to train by the time we get back on Thursday. Rudiger has trained with us today [Tuesday], which is part of a small programme to have him fit. He's going to be out of contention for the weekend but hopefully soon [he'll be back]. N'Golo similarly, he's training but we'll see how he is for the weekend. Not clear yet on that one."
Chelsea head into the match having won five on the spin in all competitions, with much of the squad hitting form. Lampard has an abundance of talent on the flanks in particular and has recently been encouraged by Callum Hudson-Odoi, who starred at the weekend and could make his first Champions League start.
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"I think he is [ready] but so are other players," Lampard added. "There comes my problem for selection for games because I have a competitive squad of players that some are fresh to the Champions League, some have been before. Isolating Callum, I thought his performance against Newcastle showed huge signs of what we want to see. We know the talent there. It's great his contract is signed now, weeks ago. I thought the problems he gave Newcastle consistently were things that I really want to see from him, which are: end product, delivery into the box, getting at people and running behind people. All those things are what we all know Callum has as a young talent. There's no guarantees there, but I think for all the young players, the extra level that the Champions League is – in terms of detail, focus, concentration for 90 minutes, making the most of tiny moments – will be a test for all the young players, not just Callum."