Antonio Conte admits he is surprised at Belgium’s decision to select Eden Hazard in their squad ahead of their upcoming World Cup qualifiers.
Hazard is yet to play for Chelsea this season after he underwent surgery on his ankle following the injury he picked up playing for his country.
The 26-year-old featured in a behind closed doors friendly last week but will again be absent from Chelsea’s line-up when they meet Everton in the Premier League on Sunday.
‘I’m a bit surprised by this decision,’ said Conte. ‘I respect the decision of the coach though.
Eden Hazard underwent surgery in the summer on the injury he picked up on international duty.
‘If Hazard isn’t ready he will not play, it’s why he doesn’t play with us. I think the only players that is not fully fit is Hazard. He is improving.
‘Today in the afternoon he is playing with the Under-23s but he is not fully fit. The other players are available.
‘Honestly I see him every day. In this situation it’s very important to give the right time to players to recover very well.
‘Hazard is an important player for us and if someone thinks to accelerate the process I think it’s not the right way. In this moment we must pay great attention to not make a mistake.’
Belgium are due to face Gibraltar and Greece next week in a double header and manger Roberto Martinez will check on Hazard’s fitness on Monday.
‘We have an incredible relationship with Chelsea. I don’t foresee any problems. We need Eden as a player and a human.’