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Zouma nears Chelsea return after PL2 appearance

Everton U21s v Chelsea U21s - League 2

SOUTHPORT, ENGLAND - October 31: Kurt Zouma of Chelsea during the Premier League 2 match between Everton U21s and Chelsea U21s at Haig Avenue Stadium on October 31, 2016 in Southport, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

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Kurt Zouma’s improved performances were cut down by a knee injury last February, and new Chelsea boss Antonio Conte hasn’t been able to use the young French center back.

Zouma played 45 minutes for Chelsea’s reserves last week, a period which saw him turn 22.

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Now he’s gone 61 minutes for the PL2 side, taking another step toward joining Conte’s well-oiled 3-5-2. Conte said he’d add Zouma to the First Team if he came through Monday’s game well.

Gary Cahill again joined David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta in Chelsea’s back three as the Blues beat Southampton on Sunday, with Marcos Alonso playing left mid.

Zouma’s arrival could move Azpilicueta into the midfield, amongst other changes.

Follow @NicholasMendola