Chelsea get major Enzo Fernandez injury update with return plan clear ahead of pre-season

Enzo Fernandez during a Chelsea game

Enzo Fernandez has been included in Lionel Scaloni's preliminary Argentina squad ahead of the Copa America this summer. Despite missing the final six matches of Chelsea's season following surgery after an ongoing injury hampered his campaign, the 22-year-old has still been selected.

The World Cup holders will face Ecuador and Guatemala in friendlies next month before kicking off the Copa America as reigning champions. Scaloni's initial 26-man squad will have to be cut down by the time competitive matches start just two weeks later though.

For Fernandez it comes after a disappointing season that saw him play through discomfort for some time. "I needed to get this surgery since I been dragging the pain for about six months," he wrote online after confirming that surgery had been successful. "It was something I could avoid while constantly treating myself with injections and medications.

"But a few weeks ago, the pain started to get more and more intense, without any of this taking effect, and it was worse as I trained and played annoyingly, but I didn't want to stop being in the games I had." Fernandez still made 40 appearances for the Blues despite his problems but failed to match the performance levels of his first six months in England.

He will now be targeting a big summer as he prepares to get back to his best for Chelsea. Should he go all the way with Argentina, making the final 23-man group for the Copa America and reaching the final, then it would give him just two weeks of rest before Mauricio Pochettino's side are due to kick off their tour of America against Wrexham.

Chelsea's players will be coming back from across the world after holidays and other international competitions - a large group are expected to feature at Euro 2024 in Germany as well - before they head out to USA once more. Whether Pochettino will be in charge at that point is still undecided.

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Speaking ahead of the final game of the season, Fernandez was extremely complimentary about his fellow Argentine. "When I arrived, it was quite a mess, there were many players," he explained. "Mauricio gave order and an identity to the team. The work ethic is different.

"He changed everything, and the truth is it’s positive. The team is more serious and hard-working. That’s important for day-to-day, and when the weekend comes, you can see the difference."

The Copa America kicks off on June 20 and will run for three weeks. Chelsea are then due to play five matches across two weeks following that before the Premier League gets underway on August 17.