Football

Thomas Tuchel urges loan starlet Conor Gallagher to show he deserves Chelsea first-team place


The youngster has impressed enormously on loan this season (Picture: Getty)

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has praised loan starlet Conor Gallagher and urged the West Brom midfielder to prove he deserves a place in the Blues’ first team next season.

The 21-year-old has enjoyed a strong campaign despite the Baggies’ struggles, playing 23 times in the Premier League, though he will be ineligible to feature against his parent club in Saturday’s clash between the two sides at Stamford Bridge.

Gallagher is one of several loan players Tuchel is believed to want to take a closer look at in pre-season over the summer, along with the likes of Ethan Ampadu, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Malang Sarr.

Gallagher spent the international break with the England Under-21s (Picture: Getty)

Tuchel will make a decision over Gallagher’s future later in the year, but for now he has encouraged the on-loan midfielder to keep working hard and try to help West Brom pull off an unlikely survival bid.

Asked at his pre-match press conference if Gallagher is in his plans for next season, Tuchel replied: ‘It’s not only my decision. But it’s his responsibility to show [he deserves a place] and this is what he does.

‘It’s not the moment to take decisions now for Connor, but I’m very aware he’s still our player.

‘We have crucial weeks ahead of us now and for him in his mission at West Brom also.

‘He fought his way through as a loan player which is very impressive.

‘He never stops improving, he’s a very regular player for West Brom and I wish that he can stay totally focused on that.

Academy product Gallagher is highly rated by Chelsea (Picture: Getty)

‘When it’s the right time to decide we will decide, but it’s clearly not now.’

West Brom are currently in 19th place in the Premier League table, 10 points adrift of safety, and need a miracle to avoid the drop – starting on Saturday in west London when they try to inflict the first defeat of Tuchel’s reign.

Chelsea have an almost fully fit squad to choose from for the clash with West Brom, though N’Golo Kante is extremely unlikely to play after picking up a hamstring problem with France on international duty while his participation against Porto in the Champions League in midweek is also in doubt.


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