Frank Lampard has admitted Antonio Rudiger has been a big miss for Chelsea this season.
The Germany international has been sidelined since April with a knee injury, but will be fit to make his first appearance of the season against Wolves on Saturday.
Speaking ahead of his side’s visit to Molineux, Lampard said the defender is available for selection.
“Rudiger is fit to play,” said Lampard. “He will have an important role. We have missed him as a front-line player and I am delighted to have him back.
“I don’t want a young team for the sake of it. He can be influential. He is ready to take on those roles.”
Lampard also revealed that N’Golo Kante is still missing with the ankle problem which has sidelined him from the last two Premier League games.
“N’Golo is not fit, Kovacic is. This game has come too soon for him, hopefully close. We are waiting for that final step, but hopefully that will be the same time,” aid Lampard, who confirmed Callum Hudson-Odoi will play for the U23s.
“Callum will play for the U23s along with Reece James. He has been training for a while but there are some issues to make sure that he’s okay. It will be great to see that. James, not as long out, but he needs games. I am pleased,” said Lampard.
The Blues boss says he has full respect for the way Nuno Espirito Santo has shaped Wolves over the last few years.
Lampard added: “A very good team, got a lot of credit last year and a good way of playing. Three at the back and very good going forward. They defend well and it’s a difficult atmosphere in the stadium.
“I am very impressed by Nuno, looking from the outside and the way that he shows himself in the media and the unity they have. They have a style they believe in and I like the way he operates.”