Thibaut Courtois
Thibaut Courtois pleased with his recovery after undergoing surgery last month Getty

Chelsea goalkeeper Thiabaut Courtois hopes to return to first team action in December but insists he will not rush his rehabilitation. The Belgium international suffered a knee ligament problem in September during a routine training session, forcing him to undergo surgery to rectify the issue.

Initial reports suggested the 23-year-old was facing a five-month spell on the sidelines but Courtois says his recovery is currently ahead of schedule. "In terms of my knee, it is good. I am doing my rehabilitation and it is progressing fine," Courtois said, The Mirror reported.

"I will be starting the bulk of the work with my physio to come back as soon as possible.Of course I still have to be careful not to go too quickly, but all being well, I should be back in December."

Chelsea have endured a miserable start to their defence of their Premier League title and have so far conceded eight goals in the four Premier League games Courtois missed. The former Atletico Madrid goalkeeper has also missed Belgium's recent European Championship qualifying victories over Andorra and Israel, results that will move the Red Devils top of Fifa's world rankings next month.

Friendlies against Italy and Spain will provide greater tests for Marc Wilmots' side but Courtois believes his country can improve further and tighten their grip on top spot.

"Now we must be realistic," he continued. "We want to win the Euros. We also know that there will be some very good teams who can win so it will depend on the draw and what happens on the way. Being world No 1? Obviously, it feels good but we have to improve further. And then we can fall down the rankings just as quickly."