Confirmed: Key Chelsea defender given assurances by Conte over club future

Nagendra / 11 September 2016

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte has reassured his confidence in young defender Kurt Zouma who is still recovering from the injury he suffered against Manchester United last February.

The manager says that the young French defender has a major role in the team despite signing David Luiz from Paris Saint-Germain on the deadline day for a massive £34 million.

The 21-year old was expected to have a six month lay off after rupturing his cruciate ligament in February but the recovery is taking longer than expected as he will be the only player who is still out injured as Blues go into the clash against Swansea.

“For us, Zouma is not only the future, he’s the present,” Conte said. “We are waiting on his recovery. He’s a good player, very young and he can improve a lot.

“It’s difficult to answer [the question of when Zouma will return]. He’s recovering and in good shape, but I think he needs a bit of time to come back to play.

“He has to train with us every day. I’m pleased to see that he’s improving a lot and I am waiting on Zouma with great happiness.”

Asked about the competition for places would be playing a part in Zouma’s return to first team, Conte said: “When you are at a great club, it’s normal that there is the right competition.

“It’s impossible to have only four defenders and only play with them. It’s important to have six, seven, eight defenders and make your choice every game, understanding who deserves to play. Then I make my choice. I don’t see any problems. I don’t want to see any problems with my players, also.”

Chelsea are looking to have one more central defender to have as a cover for the likes of David Luiz, John Terry and Gary Cahill. The return of Kurt Zouma would be welcomed by manager Conte as he will have plenty of options to shuffle his defense when needed.