Ryan Bertrand ready to graft to make it at the Bridge after turning down Liverpool move

Bertrand opts to stay at club he joined as a 15-year-old from Gillingham in hope of being Cole's successor

Kuala Lumpur

Ryan Bertrand has turned down a move to Liverpool this summer to pursue his dream of being Ashley Cole’s successor at left-back for Chelsea, and a status as the club’s first academy boy to establish himself in the first team since John Terry more than a decade ago.

The interest from Liverpool was real but instead Bertrand has opted to stay at the club he joined as a 15-year-old from Gillingham in the hope of being the successor when Cole finally does call it a day at Stamford Bridge. At a club that is capable of signing some of the most expensive players in the world, that is a risk but it is one Bertrand is prepared to take.

He takes confidence from his record last season – 38 appearances for the first team – which followed on from that run he had in the side in May last year which culminated in a place in the 2012 Champions League final team. If the masterplan had worked out for Chelsea, they would have a first team squad full of players like Bertrand who had made it through from their academy but it has not turned out like that.

Bertrand, 23, was one of the first players signed in 2005 under the Frank Arnesen era, although he was a target of the club before then, He recalls impressing in a match against a Chelsea youth team and being aware that he had been scouted before then. It has taken him a long time, and loans spells at five clubs starting in 2006, to get to a point where he can consider himself a first team player.

With three years on his contract, has no desire to give up on his dream of playing for the club. “Obviously I want to be Chelsea's No1 left-back, and when that time comes it will happen,” he said yesterday ahead of Chelsea’s game against a Malaysia select XI on Sunday in Kuala Lumpur. “All I can do is be ready and keep playing, keep biding my time. I just concentrate on progressing in the games I get, and I've managed to do so in recent years. That's the only target I have.”

Had Cole decided that this summer was his time to go then this pre-season would look very different for Bertrand. Chelsea would undoubtedly have been in the market for a left-back but they would have a decision to make as to whether that player was a first-choice or an understudy to Bertrand. As it is, with Cole signing a one-year extension, Bertrand knows where he stands.

“I wasn't really focused on it [Cole’s future] to be honest. I was just concentrating on myself, regardless of what happened. [If Cole had left there would have been] another left-back anyway, so it won't be: 'As soon as Ash goes, there we are, it's mine.' The work will still be there to do.

“That's the way it is at the top level. You have to be able to compete. That's just the way it is, and it's the place I want to be. So I'm used to that.”

In the debate over the desperately dwindling numbers of English players in the Premier League – especially the leading clubs – Bertrand could almost be considered a test case. Here is a player who has made it into the first team at a club notoriously poor at promoting academy boys. What is unusual about his situation is that it is an Englishman keeping him out the team rather than an foreign signing. Can he hang in there?

It has taken Bertrand plenty of hard graft to get to where he is and he can hardly be accused of being one of those who think they have made it when the first pro deal is signed. He has flogged himself around loan spells at Bournemouth, Oldham, Norwich City, Reading and Nottingham Forest before, in his own words, he decided “there comes a time when you have to say, ‘Righ,t I am going to spend some time back at the club and see what happens’”.

He played 15 games in the 2011-2012 season which ended with that remarkable night in Munich before making significant progress last season. “The final against Bayern was phenomenal when I think back to Gillingham, the training ground there, the stadium,” he said. “That was what I was used to and to go right the way to the Champions League final was humbling when I look at where I have come from.”

He does not share the gloom about the next generation of English footballers and he says that the failure to bring players through at Chelsea cannot be laid just at the club’s door. “Some players may see their opportunities better elsewhere. It's not just about the club bringing them through. It has to suit the players as well.” Although for that academy, there is much riding on Bertrand’s success.

i100 In this video, the late actor Leonard Nimoy explains how he decided to use the gesture for his character
Arts and Entertainment
Secrets of JK Rowling's Harry Potter workings have been revealed in a new bibliography
arts + ents
Down-to-earth: Winstone isn't one for considering his 'legacy'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower