Academy graduate Conor Gallagher featured in Tuesday's pre-season triumph versus Bournemouth and impressed with a complete performance in the middle of the park.
With a loan move to Crystal Palace being imminent, how can this benefit his Chelsea career going forward?
Thomas Tuchel’s selection on Tuesday saw Gallagher start in Chelsea’s first main pre-season game against English opposition. Gallagher played amongst other fringe players who are looking to showcase their ability to manager Tuchel who’s looking to bolster the first team squad before the season begins.
Gallagher, who played the full 90 minutes, was resolute in his overall performance which saw him gain vital exposure to the demands Tuchel puts on his well drilled Chelsea teams.
Gallagher, who is set move to Patrick Vieira’s Palace, is a renowned workhorse in midfield and is likely be imperative to the Eagles side that he features in next season.
Against Bournemouth, Gallagher displayed a multitude of characteristics throughout, highlighting his rapidly improving skill set and his ability to impact games. Under Slaven Bilic and Sam Allardyce last season at West Brom, the 21-year-old showed similar traits throughout the campaign where he boasts a strong set of statistics which supports his ever improving talent.
The Chelsea midfielder contributed a staggering 81 tackles last season in the Premier League which ranked the academy graduate above the whole Chelsea first team midfield. This output is testament to the work rate and drive Gallagher instills into his game and for me should be considered by Thomas Tuchel once he returns from his loan spell next season.
How will the Palace loan benefit him long-term?
Chairman Steve Parish is looking to turn things around at Crystal Palace as he begins to rebuild an ageing squad in desperate need of change. Upon the departure of Roy Hodgson, Vieira has been able to attract Chelsea academy graduate Marc Guehi and Joachim Andersen from Lyon to bolster the Palace defence which was prone to falter last season.
The south London club had the third worst defensive record last season conceding 66 goals throughout. It comes as no surprise that Gallagher was wanted by Vieira who will rely on the midfielder's capabilities to elevate Palace next season into the top half of the table.
With the likes of Wilfried Zaha and Eberechi Eze on the books, it is clear Palace is a club with the potential of being able to play free flowing football in a system. This will be an integral experience for Gallagher who needs to be able to prove to Chelsea he has the ability to play in a team with ambitions of finishing as high as possible not just fighting relegation.
In a season where the top teams are dominating the transfer market it is going to be increasingly difficult for youth players to make a mark in starting elevens across the country this season.
A loan move for Gallagher will benefit him in the long-term and can help him establish himself as a constant starter at Chelsea in the future.