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Conte backs youth policy to come up trumps in silverware bid

 

By Matt McGeehan

Head coach Antonio Conte says he is giving youth a chance at Chelsea and will do so again in tonight's Carabao Cup quarter-final with Bournemouth.

Like in the previous rounds against Nottingham Forest and Everton, the Italian is set to rotate his options by giving his more peripheral players an opportunity.

"Every competition is serious. I think our task is to try to win the game, to try to reach the semi-final," Conte said.

"At the same time it's right in this competition to give the opportunity to the players not playing regularly. For the players that are struggling to find the best form after injuries, (Danny) Drinkwater, for example.

"I have to trust my players. Not only with words, but with facts. To show I trust my players and I want to give them a big opportunity in a big game to show me that they deserve to play."

Left wing-back Marcos Alonso is suspended, with Kenedy set to take his place, while Michy Batshuayi and Drinkwater are poised to start.

Wales international Ethan Ampadu could start and fellow 17-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi, a World Cup winner with England under-17s in October, is set to be involved along with 18-year-old Dujon Sterling.

Conte, who is without Charly Musonda (groin) and David Luiz (knee) through injury, says anyone who performs well can follow the example of Andreas Christensen and break into the first team. Christensen has displaced Luiz as first choice in the centre of Conte's defence.

The Blues boss added: "Before taking a decision for the starting XI, if a player plays or not, the last part of the body that I look is the head.

"I like to make the best decision from what I see during training sessions and games.

"If you deserve to play, you play. Don't forget Christensen is playing, only 21 years old. He's showing he deserves to play."

Belfast Telegraph

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