LONDON (AFP) - Chelsea midfielder Michael Ballack has handed new boss Carlo Ancelotti a boost by returning to fitness ahead of Sunday's Community Shield clash against Manchester United.
Germany captain Ballack was forced to fly home early in Chelsea's pre-season tour of America after fracturing a toe.
He missed four friendlies as a result but the former Bayern Munich star returned to training on Monday and was due to feature in a behind-closed-doors friendly with QPR on Tuesday.
Ancelotti, who takes charge of his first major match as Blues boss at Wembley this weekend, confirmed Ballack is on course to start the Premier League campaign against Hull on August 15 and could also face United.
"For the next match against United he (Ballack) will be ready," Ancelotti said.
Ancelotti has been using a 'diamond' midfield formation in pre-season and the former AC Milan chief believes he has settled on his best team to face United in the curtain raiser to the English season.
"I have more or less the team that will play in my mind," he said.
"We have this week before the game and I want to control the physical condition of all my players.
"We have to improve a little over the next week but I'm happy with the condition of the team."