Thibaut Courtois admits the Chelsea team are “excited” to welcome Eden Hazard back to the squad but has warned fans not to expect great things from the 26-year-old straight away.

Courtois starred for Belgium as the Red Devils booked their place at next year’s World Cup with wins over Greece and Gibraltar, with Hazard making substitute appearances in both matches following his recovery from ankle surgery.

The winger has not played for Chelsea this season, but could now make Antonio Conte’s matchday squad when the champions travel to take on Leicester on Saturday although he isn’t expected to start the Premier League game.

But Courtois believes Hazard is ready to be unleashed back in the top-flight again, though the goalkeeper thinks it will take time for the Belgian star to be back to his best form.

“I think he is ready. He is doing well, and I think he is ready to play,” Courtois told Sky Sports News.

“But we cannot forget he was injured for three or four months and had surgery. You cannot expect if Eden plays on Saturday – obviously that’s up to the manager – but if he gets minutes, you will see his quality but maybe he won’t be on his top form like he was last season.

“You cannot forget that. We have to go little by little, I think. We are excited to have him back and playing with us and with me on the pitch against Gibraltar and Greece. 

“But you see he lacks a bit of games so that will come in the next weeks. And I hope we can see the best Eden Hazard very soon.”