One of the few positives to come out of Chelsea’s recent defeat to Manchester City was the excellent performance of 21-year-old centre-back Andreas Christensen.
Not for the first time this season the Denmark international came into the team due to injury or suspension and put in a superb display.
Christensen marshalled the dangerous Gabriel Jesus brilliantly. So much so that it was probably the young Brazilian’s most ineffective game in a City shirt.
Chelsea beat off competition from several other European superpowers including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to sign a 15-year-old Christensen from Danish side Brondby in 2012.
Having spent a few seasons in the Stamford Bridge side’s youth set up the talented defender was handed his Premier League debut during the 2014/2015 campaign by Jose Mourinho in an end of season game against Sunderland.
Christensen was then loaned out to Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach on a two-year-deal in 2015. During his spell in Germany the 21-year-old made 62 appearances and earned rave reviews for a string of top-class performances.
Christensen is blessed with a phenomenal turn of pace, but most impressive is the level of maturity in his game.
He seems to lack the understandable rashness that so many centre-backs display early in their careers, and is rarely seen diving into challenges.
Excellent positional awareness and outstanding passing ability also rank high on Christensen’s list of impressive attributes. He has averaged a 95.5 % pass completion rate in his eight appearances for Chelsea so far this season.
The Stamford Bridge club have been heavily criticised in recent years for their inability to integrate their most talented youngsters into their starting XI.
However, judging by the level of performances that Christensen has put in this season – especially against Man City and Spurs – he may finally be the first member of Chelsea’s youth academy since John Terry to enjoy a long and successful career with the club.
The experienced trio of Cesar Azpilicueta, David Luiz and club captain Gary Cahill probably remain Conte’s first-choice back three at the moment, but if Christensen continues to show his ability in the manner he has recently, surely his manger will not be able to ignore his claim for a starting position much longer.
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