Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel has confessed that the competition for minutes in his squad is not ideal for young duo Conor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
The pair of academy graduates have both attracted interest from the Premier League and abroad, with the Blues knocking back approaches for Gallagher while Hudson-Odoi has asked to leave in search of regular minutes.
When asked about Gallagher's future, Tuchel admitted that the 22-year-old faces a real battle to prove himself in Chelsea's midfield but urged the youngster to keep his head down and keep working.
“Conor fights in central midfield. To be very honest, it’s a tough fight for him because at the moment, as it seems, we only have two places in central midfield, which is a bit unfair given the number of players we have for central midfield," Tuchel began.
“It’s not ideal, I agree. But we have to do what’s best for the squad, not what’s best for every individual player.
“I’m a huge fan of Conor. He is first of all a fantastic guy. In the first weeks of training, he showed how much of a step he made by having so much playing time and how much of a personality on the pitch he became.
“It’s a very very normal situation in development that, after some really fantastic training sessions in the beginning, there’s a little dip in form, a dip in freshness at the moment, from which he suffers.
“On top he has huge competition with N’Golo [Kante], Jorgi [Jorginho] and Kova [Mateo Kovacic], who are used to playing with each other. But this is life in a big club and a competitive club like Chelsea.
“Everything is in its right place. We are happy with him and he keeps on fighting, because this is what he does. I think he has everything to become a very important player over the next years at Chelsea.”
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As well as voicing his desire to keep Gallagher, Tuchel confirmed that he wants to see Hudson-Odoi remain at Chelsea for the foreseeable future.
"Callum is the same. He had a long-term injury and long-term problems to overcome. That's where he suffered from," the boss explained. "I think he still has a way to go to live up to his potential. His potential is huge. His potential is huge.
"I think having Raheem [Sterling] in can give him an extra boost to step up and see what's needed in these kinds of positions to reach the levels he can honestly reach. But at the moment, he is our player, and he needs to fight, fight, fight. I have nothing more to say."
Source : 90min