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Hughton's Update On Albion's World Cup Trio

By Alex Stedman • 16 July 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion manager Chris Hughton says that the side’s 2018 FIFA World Cup trio will return to the Seagulls over the course of the next week. 

Goalkeeper Mathew Ryan represented Australia at this summer’s tournament, whilst summer arrival Leon Balogun turned out for Nigeria and Jose Izquierdo took to the field for Colombia.

The manager shed some light on when the three faces would link back up with the squad following Saturday’s 1-1 draw with FC St Gallen.

He said, “The three players who went to the tournament are back this week – Leon comes back on Tuesday, Maty is back on Wednesday.

“Jose has an extended period of time because his country reached the knockout stages, so he will be back with the group next Monday. 

“They’ll all come back in good shape but once the season starts you want them to be up to speed, so for us it’s about making sure that they will be.” 

The squad’s pre-season training trip came to a close at Kybunpark on Saturday afternoon, and the boss also discussed the thinking behind the pre-season schedule as a whole. 

“A large part of that [fitness work] is out of the way and it’s about playing matches throughout this period, but teams differ with how and when they do that. 

“Some teams in our league have already played one or two matches, our thinking is to get a level of fitness up and then play matches whilst trying to not pick up any injuries.

“I’m happy with where we are, and we also have players coming back too, which will be good for the group, so I’m very pleased.” 

Hughton was without Shane Duffy, Florin Andone and Jason Steele for the game at the weekend, and he revealed the reasons for their absence from the game in Switzerland. 

“They’re all minor injuries but that’s just an unfortunate part of the game – Shane felt his towards the end of last season and he’s been doing a lot of work and he’ll most likely be involved in the next game. 

“Then we’ll make a decision on Florin and Jason in the coming days. 

“Florin has been doing some good running work and for us it’s about whether we leave it another week or get him into games.” 

The contest also saw summer signings Bernardo and Hugo Keto get to represent the side for the first time since the pair arrived at the club, and the boss was satisfied with what he saw from the two new recruits. 

“I got to have a look at Bernardo during the first half – we knew he’s played mostly as a left-back, but we know he’s versatile and today we saw him on the opposite side of the defence.

“It was a good introduction for him, he perhaps took a little while to get into the rhythm but that’s normal. 

“He’s a young player who’ll get used to our system and way of playing because he’s been used to something different at his previous club, but the most important thing is he’s trained all week and he’s got through the game today as well. 

“Hugo [Keto] has had a really good week with us and he’s had a good introduction – we made the decision to play him and I thought he did well.”

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