Inside ‘Chelsea News: Graham Potter Can Use World Cup To Assess Six Starlets Aiming For First XI’ Chelsea boss Graham Potter will have a great chance to run the rule over some of the club’s emerging young talents over the next few weeks in spite of the World Cup bringing a stop to Premier League football until Boxing Day. The Blues are expected to take part in a warm-weather training camp during the tournament, with the players not involved in Qatar able to impress Potter by putting on a good show before club football returns next month.
Chelsea News: Graham Potter Can Use World Cup To Assess Six Starlets Aiming For First XI
Many of Chelsea’s senior stars will be busy representing their countries at the World Cup, with the likes of Mason Mount and Conor Gallagher already in Qatar with the England squad ahead of their first game against Iran on Monday. Several of the club’s young prospects will be staying put, though, with teenage midfielder Omari Hutchinson among those looking to force a way into Potter’s plans for the rest of the season over the coming weeks.
The former Arsenal man joined the Blues over the summer and has been named in three matchday squads since the beginning of the campaign but is still yet to make his senior debut for the west Londoners. He was reportedly blocked from joining the Jamaica squad for their match against Cameroon earlier this month, which suggests that he is being considered as a potential first-team option at Chelsea before the Premier League resumes after Christmas.
Hutchinson will be desperate to catch the eye of Potter on the training ground, with Chelsea expected to play at least one friend in Abu Dhabi between now and the end of the World Cup. Gabriel Slonina is another player who will be hoping to force his way into first-team contention at Chelsea by impressing between the sticks in the absence of Edouard Mendy, who is representing Senegal in Qatar and has been tipped to leave the Blues at some point in the not-too-distant future.
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Slonina, who started training with Chelsea three weeks ago, will stand a good chance of being promoted to a backup role for Kepa Arrizabalaga if Mendy is sold in January and would do no harm to his chances of selection by showing Potter exactly what he is capable of during the World Cup. Summer signing Cesare Casadei may also stand a good chance of working his way into the fold after shining at the youth level for the Blues with three goals in five matches in the Premier League 2 this season.
The young Italian midfielder is clearly too good for a continued role in Chelsea’s under-21 side, which suggests that a loan move or a first-team introduction would be the next logical step in his career after the World Cup draws to a close. He could soon be joined in the Blues squad by left-back Zak Sturge, who recently arrived from Brighton and may be required to deputize for the injured Ben Chilwell if fellow Chelsea starlet Lewis Hall is moved into his preferred central midfield position in the near future.
Sturge is an attack-minded player and could slot in well on the left-hand side for Chelsea if he manages to stake a claim for a welcome promotion to first-team level during their upcoming warm-weather training camp. He is already well-known to Potter from his time at Brighton, which could stand him in good stead to get himself into the 47-year-old’s thinking as he assesses his squad ahead of the return of the Premier League.
Fellow youth prospects Charlie Webster and Jude Soonsup-Bell, who have both been linked with potential moves to Manchester City ahead of the January transfer window, may also be outsiders to get into Chelsea’s senior squad over the coming weeks as the World Cup takes shape in Qatar. It remains to be seen how many fringe players will be able to impress Potter in Abu Dhabi, although the Blues manager may be open to adding to his first-team group as he aims to put things right at Stamford Bridge after a pre-World Cup run of three successive defeats.
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