REUTERS - Chelsea midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah is hoping to cement his place at Stamford Bridge after making a breakthrough for the Premier League champions under Antonio Conte last season.
The 22-year-old, who joined Chelsea’s academy at the age of 10, was sent out on six loan spells before the Italian boss decided to keep him at the club at the start of last campaign.
“He (Conte) showed faith in me in pre-season and he liked the way I was working,” Chalobah, who made nine of his 10 league appearances from the bench, told the Telegraph.
”He made a decision to keep me ... The way I see it is that I‘m in a better position than I was last year.
“We won the league and I have got competition ahead of me in (N‘Golo) Kante, (Cesc) Fabregas and (Nemanja) Matic. And we’re talking European Cup winners, World Cup winners and full internationals, and these are players that you can learn from every single day, in terms of what they do on the pitch and the way they are off the pitch.”
Chalobah has also been a success for England in the youth levels, making his Under-21 debut in 2012 at the age of 17.
With England boss Gareth Southgate looking to add fresh faces to the national squad over the past few fixtures, Chalobah believes there are more opportunities for the youngsters to earn a senior call-up.
“Gareth has showed with his faith in the system that anything’s possible leaving the Under-21s,” he added.
“He’s called up Nathan (Redmond) and James Ward-Prowse... so for everyone who is here we have got to try and look forward to the next step ... Players are getting the opportunity now.”
Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Gareth Jones