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Hiddink: Matt Miazga not ready for Chelsea first-team minutes

Kurt Zouma's injury has not yet opened the door for Matt Miazga, according to Chelsea interim manager Guus Hiddink.

The United States central defender joined the Premier League club from the New York Red Bulls in the January transfer window for a reported $5 million fee and was expected to be a long-term project for the Blues.

However, when center back Kurt Zouma went down with a torn ACL against Manchester United, combined with Miazga being put on the Blues' Champions League roster, the thought may have been the defender might get a chance to play in the coming weeks.

But Hiddink put cold water on that, though the Chelsea boss praised how the American has performed thus far.

"He is physically OK but we'll see what will happen," Hiddink said. "He's a youngster, although already in the USA national team, but he has to get used to our way of playing -- it's a little bit faster. But once he adapts himself he's an open guy, a good guy, very professional."

Chelsea has also recalled youngster Jake Clarke-Salter to help with the void on the backline. Veteran Gary Cahill is expected slot back in as John Terry's partner and even though the Blues still have FA Cup and Champions League action to contend with, Hiddink explained they have options other than forcing Miazga into the lineup before he's ready.

"He has moved up and I have a kid from the academy [Clarke-Salter] who is now with us," he said. "We'll see what will happen but we have inside the first squad of 15, 16 players some variations with [Branislav] Ivanovic, with Baba [Rahman]. We have some options to use."

Miazga has been putting in double training sessions to improve his fitness and get up to speed. And while his opportunity has not come yet, it may arrive sometime in the near future.

"We don't have any doubts about whether [Miazga] is needed," Hiddink said. "He was meant to come here [in January] to get used to our way of working, training, so that he could integrate more easily and not just in the upcoming season."