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Hazard warning as Chelsea star returns to fitness after ankle injury

Eden Hazard may be close to returning to full fitness, but he has been warned he could struggle to make an immediate return to the Chelsea first team.

Hazard has yet to feature for Chelsea this season as he recovers from ankle surgery. The former Lille playmaker has joined up with the Belgium national side ahead of their World Cup qualifier with Gibraltar on Thursday.

Belgium are expected to give Hazard a run-out during the game but he has been warned by fellow countryman and Chelsea team-mate Thibaut Courtois that he may find making the Premier League champions starting 11 may not be easy.

“You will always miss a player like Eden but we have handled it very well and it will be hard for him to come back into the team,” Courtois told Sky Sports. “He is someone who has done so many amazing things for us already.”

Pedro and Willian have impressed deputising for Hazard, and Chelsea have improved to beat Tottenham and Everton after their shock 3-2 opening day defeat to Burnley.

“The Burnley game was not good, even when we [still] had 10 men,” Courtois continued. “We had a sloppy first half but the second half we were more aggressive and we transferred that into the game against Tottenham.”

“They had better chances but we won and we needed to improve against Everton. We knew it would be a hard game but we handled it very well.”

“The Premier League is always hard and we will try to be there until the last day and see if we can retain it.”

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