Antonio Conte has insisted that he is the right man to bring Chelsea’s raft of England Under-17 World Cup winners through into the senior ranks, using the example of Paul Pogba’s time under his management at Juventus.
The Young Lions beat their Spanish counterparts 5-2 in Kolkata on Saturday to lift the trophy, with Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Liverpool’s Rhian Brewster winning the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards respectively.
Chelsea sent the quintet of Callum Hudson-Odoi, George McEachran, Connor Gallagher, Marc Guehi and Jonathan Panzo to the tournament, and Conte said over the weekend: “I am very happy for our academy because it means our academy is working very well.
“I am very happy for our five players, and sometimes Odoi came [and trained] with us. Against Everton, Ethan Ampadu played for the first time and he is only 17 years old. Don’t forget that my first appearance in my career in Serie A, I was only 16 years old. I think I am the best person to give this type of possibility, if I see they deserve it.
“In my experience at Juventus, Pogba was only 18 years old then after one month [at the club] he played from the start. I want to give these possibilities – but you have to deserve these possibilities. Ampadu, for example, is not an England player, he is only 17 years old, but he deserves to stay with us and to develop, to be the future for Chelsea.”
The Blues face an increasingly crowded fixture schedule after reaching the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup, with nine fixtures to contend with in December across three competitions.