Andreas Christensen held up by Antonio Conte as a shining example to Chelsea's numerous youngsters

The Danish centre-back  has been in the Chelsea system for more than five years  and has just come back from a two-year loan at Borussia Monchengladbach

Jack Pitt-Brooke
Friday 29 September 2017 22:25 BST
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Christensen has slotted into Chelsea's first-team this season
Christensen has slotted into Chelsea's first-team this season

Andreas Christensen will make his fifth start of the season for Chelsea on Saturday against Manchester City, and it feels like a vindication for the patience of both player and club over his long development.

The Danish centre-back has been in the Chelsea system for more than five years and has just come back from a two-year loan at Borussia Monchengladbach.

But by slotting into the first team this season he has shown that there is a path, at least for Chelsea’s very best youngsters, from academy to loan to first-team. He has been held up by Antonio Conte as an example to Chelsea’s other youngsters.

Christensen’s composure and class in the middle of that back three has also meant that Chelsea have not missed the leadership of suspended David Luiz quite as much as they might have done.

The fact that Christensen played for Monchengladbach for two seasons means he has actually faced Manchester City in the Champions League, and has more top-level experience than he would have done had he sat on the Chelsea bench for the last two years. Those games should stand him in good stead this weekend.

“It was great experience, they were big games,” he said this week. “I haven’t got the best results against them yet, but, hopefully, that will now come. It was in the Champions League, I was a young player on loan. It was what I wanted and it was good for me, big games against the best players.”

While some players find being on loan to feel like they are in limbo, Christensen was full of praise for how Chelsea handled his long loan spell, and always felt like he was part of their plans.

“Chelsea kept looking after me, getting the videos and texting every week and every day about how I was doing,” he said. “Eddie Newton and Paulo Ferreira did a great job with me. Facing the strikers in the

Bundesliga got me so much experience and two years in the Champions League as well, so I got a lot of experience. The club could not have done any more than they did in terms of helping me on the right path.”

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It was a learning experience, Christensen said he had to wash his own clothes, and the only player he really knew at first was Thorgan Hazard. But he learned enough to be able to come back in and complete. “I wanted one year to settle in and establish myself, and another to play regularly and really go for it,” he said. “It was two seasons at a high level. It was probably only before I went on holiday

this summer, I thought about what would happen at Chelsea and if I’d get a chance, but the manager showed me he trusts me and he has a great passion for me to deliver.”

So it is an older, smarter Christensen who has come back this season, to be counted upon by Conte. “When I was first at Chelsea as a first-team player, I wasn’t even in the squad all the time,” he said. “You always have to go and look at the list and sometimes you are in the squad and sometimes you’re not. But now I feel much more like a Chelsea player than before.”

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