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Premier League

Villas-Boas tells Rodgers 'hands off' after Swansea try to lure McEachran on loan

Chelsea's manager Andre Villas-Boas says the England Under-21 international Josh McEachran can become one of the best players in the world, and he has admonished his former colleague Brendan Rodgers for saying publicly that Swansea would like him on loan in January.

Rodgers was quoted last week as saying: "He is a wonderful talent and the positive thing is that clubs see Swansea as a club that can develop such talents.

"He has a big future, he played in the same team as my son right through the system at Chelsea and has kicked on since he turned 14. He is a terrific footballer and he needs to play in a certain system. I think Andre understands he will need to get some games. When that moment comes he is certainly a player who would do terrific here."

But Villas-Boas, who worked with Rodgers during his first spell at Chelsea under Jose Mourinho, responded: "I was surprised that publicly other managers come across almost calling a player, because it shouldn't be allowed and it doesn't work like that."

He acknowledged that McEachran has not played many first-team games this season but says that is because of fierce competition for midfield places.

"Josh is an immense talent so we are counting on him here as a Chelsea player," Villas-Boas said. "When Josh makes it through the difficult competitive environment that he faces here he will be one of the most amazing players.

"I understand that the opportunities he got compared to last year weren't the same and Josh played last year Champions' League games, which shows the quality of his talent. But it also means there's immense talent in the club and he has to push his way through.

"If he makes it through with this competition, his future is secure as one of the best midfielders in the world and we are challenging him to do that. That doesn't mean other people are allowed to speak of a player that belongs to us."