Antonio Conte: Chelsea squad roles are a 'fantastic' chance for young players

simon johnson
Evening Standard
Getty Images
Getty Images

Antonio Conte today told Chelsea's young players they should feel honoured to just be part of the squad at Stamford Bridge.

Conte has given more opportunities to the youth talent since taking over at Stamford Bridge last summer, but has reverted back to his senior players as the club have closed in on a domestic Double.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Nathaniel Chalobah, Nathan Ake and Ola Aina have started 12 games between them this term.

However, only Chalobah was named on the bench for the FA Cup Quarter Final against Manchester United on Monday.

It has increased speculation that the quartet don't have a major role in his long-term plans, especially as Chelsea plan to spend big in the transfer window.

When asked by Standard Sport how he intends to keep them motivated if they're not playing, Conte said: "I think that, for the young players, to stay in the squad of a great team is already a great motivation.

"And, every day, I demand and I want to see great motivation from the young players.

"To stay in a great squad like Chelsea is a fantastic opportunity every day, to show me they are improving.

"Then, when there is the possibility to play – don't forget they have played a lot of games in the League Cup, the FA Cup and the Premier League – that step is very important.

"We want to try and win. We want to try [against Manchester United] and get into the next round.

"For this reason, I try to make the best decisions for the team to try and win and get into the semi-finals. It happened and I think we are very happy.”

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