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Potter expects full commitment from Chelsea stars despite World Cup injury risk

Graham Potter expects Chelsea’s players to put their bodies on the line in the run-up to the World Cup despite injury concerns after Ben Chilwell joined the growing list of stars facing potential heartbreak.

Chelsea left-back Chilwell appears unlikely to make the England squad for Qatar after a hamstring injury in the Champions League clash with Dinamo Zagreb on Wednesday.

He is one of several top-flight players who have late fitness concerns ahead of the tournament. South Korea’s Son Heung-min had surgery for a facial fracture sustained as Tottenham won in Marseille earlier this week.

“It’s very difficult to play Premier League football, or Champions League football, and go at it half-hearted,” Chelsea manager Potter said on Friday.

“That’s pretty much impossible, then at the same time you know there’s a World Cup a couple of weeks away, so that’s a tricky position for everybody.”

Chilwell was set to undergo a scan on Friday to evaluate the severity of his injury, though Potter did not sound optimistic about his defender’s prognosis.

“We’ll find out today or tomorrow,” he said. “He feels OK, he’s aware of the injury, we need to let the swelling settle down and we’ll know more after that. 

“I wouldn’t say he fears the worst. Until we get the scan, it’s difficult to say. At the moment, we are hopeful and fingers crossed. It’s disappointing, of course.”

Chelsea host Arsenal on Sunday, a week after suffering a 4-1 loss at Brighton in Potter’s first trip back to his former club, though the Blues bounced back with their 2-1 midweek win over Dinamo.

“Brighton was a defeat we didn’t like and didn’t enjoy,” said Potter. “Be strange if we did. So, they’ve responded well, their performance in Zagreb I think was a solid one and a professional one.

“It had intensity, it had enthusiasm, and everybody has trained well, everybody has been responsible.”

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