Essien will return in January Ghana's key midfielder Michael Essien is making a quicker-than-expected return from injury and should be fully fit when the Black Stars start the second phase of the World Cup qualifiers in March.
Essien was expected to be sidelined for six months after suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury last month in a World Cup qualifier against Libya and was expected back in action in March.
That raised concerns that the Chelsea enforcer would not be fully fit when the Black Stars take on Benin in their opening Group D game in March.
But Cheslea boss Scolari has sprung a positive surprise to Ghanaians by saying Essien he could be back early in the New Year.
"In January, I'll give to you good news. Very good news about new players in Chelsea," the Brazilian said.
"I can do that now if you want? Essien.
"I think he'll be back a month earlier than the doctors said.
"I think God helped me and, in January, I think he will play for us at the last few days in January."
Essien's return will be a major boost for the Black Stars as Ghana seeks a second successive appearance at the World Cup.
Coach Milovan Rajevac should have Laryea Kingston, Stephen Appiah, Sulley Muntari, Quincy Owusu Abeyie, Haminu Dramani, Essien and Anthony Annan all ready to battle for starting places in the midfield.
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