Nathaniel Chalobah will step up his recovery from long-term knee injury next week, reports claim.

The former Chelsea man required surgery on a fractured kneecap he suffered in training and has not been seen in a Watford shirt since Spetember’s 6-0 defeat to Manchester City.

However, after a lengthy rehabilitation process, the 23-year-old is nearing a return and will start running on grass next week, according to the Independent.

Chalobah has spent part of his recovery at England’s St George’s Park training complex but has been back working at Watford in recent weeks.

While no date has been set for the midfielder’s return, the update provides more positive news for a Watford squad starting to take a more full shape after an extended injury crisis.

The early-season injury put the buffers on a fine start to life at Vicarage Road, which saw Chalobah earn his first call up to the senior England team.

He is therefore an outside bet to make Gareth Southgate’s squad for the World Cup in Russia this summer, but his immediate focus will be on returning for the Hornets.