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Essien happy to be back for Blues
Published : 21 Aug 2010 12:08:00
Michael Essien has admitted he is delighted to be back in Chelsea's first team and is excited about the season ahead. The midfield enforcer has endured a difficult past two years, succumbing twice to serious injuries both last season and the campaign before, playing little part in the Blues' double winning term in 2010. He also missed out on captaining the Ghanaian national team at this summer's World Cup after failing to recover from a serious knee injury. The 27-year-old is regarded as one of the finest players in world football in his position, and Essien was clearly happy to have returned following his 90 minutes against West Brom in Chelsea's opening game. "It was great to be back," Essien told The Guardian. "There's relief there, too, of course. It was so frustrating to be back in that position, out of the team and in the treatment room, but these things happen. "The knee is fine. There has been no reaction, either after training or after games. It anything, it feels stronger than before. I'm not scared to go into tackles with it. Not at all. "People are saying I'm on of the new signings this year, and I am consistently looking forward to playing more consistently after missing so much of the last two seasons." Despite the departures of midfield partners Deco and Michael Ballack, there is still fierce competition in the centre of midfield at Stamford Bridge. John Obi Mikel started alongside Essien in the 6-0 thumping over the Baggies, but the arrival of Brazil midfielder Ramires from Benfica has given Carlo Ancelotti's side added strength. "It is an exciting time. Some players have left but Ramires has come in, a player I haven't seen much of but getting into the Brazilian team is not easy," added Essien. "I hope I can work well with him. It will be up to the manager where we all play."