Emma Hayes has disclosed a potential injury return date for USWNT star Catarina Macario, who is nearing her much-anticipated debut for Chelsea.
Despite nursing a serious ACL injury, the skilled 24-year-old forward made a move to west London in the summer of 2023. The fitness setback, suffered while on the books of French giants Lyon, has kept the United States international sidelined for over a year.
Macario is patiently awaiting her first appearance for Chelsea, but her patience may soon pay off. The Blues have gradually reintroduced the 17-cap star to first-team training, taking no risks so far. However, there is a possibility that Macario could soon feature in Hayes’ matchday plans.
Chelsea boss Hayes said: “Do I think she could make the bench for Crystal Palace? She has to feel confident. She’s been out a long time. So on one level I could say yes, she will. But the reality is just psychologically, she just feels she needs a little bit more time in training with the team. She’s training with the team in all aspects, but she just doesn’t feel quite ready yet. So I’d say slim chance before international break. High chance directly after it.”
On Sunday, Chelsea is gearing up to take on Crystal Palace in the FA Cup fifth round, followed by a crucial WSL clash against fellow title contenders Manchester City. The team will then head into the next international break. A more fitting date for Macario, who will soon collaborate with Hayes in the USWNT set-up, to make her debut in English football might be the domestic match against Leicester on March 3.