Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Premier League

Chelsea's Kevin De Bruyne ready to show Jose Mourinho that he can make the step up to first-team

Belgian midfielder will go on pre-season tour of Asia with aim of impressing new Blues boss

Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne is ready to show just why new manager Jose Mourinho recalled him to Chelsea as the squad jet out for a pre-season tour of Asia.

The Belgian international initially joined the Blues from Genk in January 2012, but spent the last campaign on loan at Bundesliga side Werder Bremen.

Mourinho made it clear on his return to the Stamford Bridge hotseat that the likes of De Bruyne, 22, and fellow promising young Belgian Romelu Lukaku, who was on loan at West Brom last season, are very much part of his plans for the new campaign.

It is an opportunity De Bruyne intends to take. Speaking to the club's official website, he said: "The manager said he has a lot of confidence and brought me back because he believes in me.

"I have to show that on the pitch, but it is nice when the trainer has confidence in you. I have to work hard and see what happens in pre-season.

"After training you can have a good laugh, but in the session he likes discipline and that everybody is working hard on the field."

Like Manchester United and Arsenal, Chelsea are making the most of some lucrative promotional opportunities while in the Far East, where they will play matches in Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta before then heading to the United States where they will take part in the Guinness International Champions Cup, along with the likes of Everton, Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Los Angeles Galaxy.

De Bruyne is expecting a testing schedule to sharpen up for the new Barclays Premier League campaign, which will open against Hull on Sunday August 18 as part of the first wave of live matches announced today.

"The tour of Asia will be difficult for us, with the heat and the humidity, but we will see what happens and we just have to prepare ourselves well for the season," he said.

"We have a lot of young players and it will be good to go on tour and stay together, and get to know each other and other places. It is always fun."

Czech Republic defender Tomas Kalas, 20, is another who will step up into the first-team group following his spell at Vitesse.

Mourinho believes the integration will only be positive.

"They are good players with a very good value in the market and we have these players this season for free, after an investment that the club did before," he said.

"After the development of the players on loan it is the right moment for them to be back. They are very young with space to develop, they will be better year after year and I can imagine in five years they are much better than today - but what they have today is more than enough to belong to this squad.

"We have a team to develop, we have a team to work. Of course we know there are expectations already and we want to create expectations for ourselves, we don't need other people to create them - but the reality is the best period of this team has yet to arrive because they are very young and in five, six, seven years' time is when this team will be in the best moment of their careers."

Chelsea have already added German forward Andre Schurrle from Bayer Leverkusen and promising Dutch midfielder Marco van Ginkel as well as veteran goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer following his free transfer from neighbours Fulham.

Roma's Italy international Daniele de Rossi is another reported target for Chelsea, who have allowed Confederations Cup players David Luiz, Oscar, Juan Mata, Fernando Torres and Cesar Azpilicueta to miss the first part of their Asia tour, where Mourinho expects a warm reception.

The Chelsea manager said: "If you go to Asia where the people are already crazy about football and it is amazing, I think you have to go to feed that passion.

"You go there very happy because you are playing friendly matches with 60,000 to 70,000 fans and the people are in the street chasing you and they are surrounding the hotel waiting for a picture or autograph, so I think every big team should go.

"I was talking to the players this week and because of the passion, we go there with a smile."