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Is Maurizio Sarri holding back the next John Terry in Andreas Christensen?

The Danish defender is one of the brightest lights at Stamford Bridge but has struggled for opportunities this season

Chelsea are not a club associated with bringing their youth players into the first-team.

In the last 20 years only John Terry and Andreas Christensen have come through the Blues academy to make 50 first-team appearances.

While many dubbed the promising Dane as the next JT, Maurizio Sarri has halted the 22-year-old’s efforts to emulate the former England captain.


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Will he get a show of faith for his manager?

Reuters
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Will he get a show of faith for his manager?

Christensen made his 57th Chelsea appearance against Huddersfield having been ignored by his manager for the majority of the season.

Sarri had been playing Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz religiously but the four straws that broke the camel’s back came in an embarrassing 4-0 defeat at Bournemouth.

Suffering your worst league defeat in 20 years comes with repercussions. 

Christensen was given the nod following the humiliation on the south coast

AP:Associated Press
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Christensen was given the nod following the humiliation on the south coast

Chelsea welcomed Huddersfield to Stamford Bridge a week later in a dream encounter for a side still licking their wounds.

While Eden Hazard and new boy Gonzalo Higuain rightly stole the headlines in the 5-0 win, Christensen impressed alongside Luiz with Rudiger getting the chop.

Sarri’s inclusion of the youngster could prove to be just as significant as the front line finally clicking.

He was a key figure last year

Reuters
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He was a key figure last year

Prior to the Huddersfield game Christensen’s only other league outing came in the 2-1 away defeat to Wolves December.

At the time it was only Chelsea’s second defeat of the season and the first they had lost having gone in as favourites to win.

To the highly superstitious Italian perhaps Christensen became the black cat or broken mirror in his eyes.

We wouldn’t dare question him

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We wouldn’t dare question him

He was dropped and not seen again in the league for eight weeks as their relationship appeared to hit rock bottom.

A bizarre story emerged after Chelsea’s 2-0 defeat at Arsenal last month that Christensen went to the toilet in the second-half and didn’t return back to the bench.

Following toilet-gate it looked as though the Dane would force a move away in January but nothing materialised.

The forgotten pair

PA:Press Association
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The forgotten pair

Christensen enjoyed a good relationship with Antonio Conte and must be wishing that the Italian was still around.

The former Borussia Monchengladbach loanee was a favourite of his former manager and was a regular over Luiz in the 2017/18 season.

Conte trusted the Dane last season

Getty - Contributor
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Conte trusted the Dane last season

Christensen has received plenty of praise over the years with former captain Terry saying: “I am sure that he will be a top footballer and one of the future men for Chelsea.”

His centre-back rival Luiz even claimed that the youngster ‘will definitely have a great future.’

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.

Terry and Christensen back in 2014

Getty - Contributor
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Terry and Christensen back in 2014

So, his former coach, his former captain and one of the most senior players in the squad all have faith in Christensen. So why doesn’t Sarri?

He fits the mould in terms of the ‘Sarri ball’ style. He’s quick, capable in possession and reliable in one-on-on situations.

He impressed against Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi in the Champions League last season and was crowned Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year in May.

This change is never acceptable for tactical reasons

Reuters
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This change is never acceptable for tactical reasons

Man United, Spurs and two meetings against Man City all await Chelsea in the space of 17 days in February.

With a Terry-sized hole still remaining in Chelsea’s back line now could be the perfect time to rebuild bridges with Sarri.

Eyes on the prize

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Eyes on the prize

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