One of the things about the upcoming season that I'm most excited for is to see some of the young talent Chelsea have been acquiring finally get the opportunity to break through to the first team. Tomas Kalas is one of those that will be getting his chance to shine, and he had an extensive interview for the club's website today. In that interview he spoke about what he learned in the Netherlands, and also about his switch to right back:
'I think I have more quality on the ball now The Eredivisie (the Dutch top flight) is known for football quality and there I learned a lot, especially in the second year when I was playing right-back because in that position you need more technical skills, but both years were quite successful, I was playing all the games and as player of my age that was the most important thing.'
'I didn't expect it but the coach came to me and said you have some skills to play on the right of defense. It was more difficult because we were playing against a really good team but we won 1-0 so nobody could say anything.'
'Every day training with Jose Mourinho is like a high school for me. I am enjoying learning in every training session and trying to develop myself, and if we train hard and it is difficult then in the games it can be easier.'
Kalas also got to spend the past two seasons with new Chelsea signing Marco van Ginkel and had the following to say about what he potentially brings to the table:
'Marco is one of the biggest talents of Holland and one the best central midfielders of his age in Europe, and I think he deserved his move the Chelsea. The last two years he was playing so well and without him and without Wilfried Bony we couldn't have reached the Europa League both seasons. So Marco was one of most important players in our squad so for me it is not a surprise he is here.'
'His distribution is good but he is also unbelievably strong for his age and he can make runs as a No. 10 or as a No. 6 behind the strikers. He scored 11 goals last season and for a No. 6 that is really good, so he can play offensively as well.'
I know much of the fanbase has been asking for the Blues to find another center back this summer, but unless we can add a guy like Eliaquim Mangala that would walk right into the first team, I'm absolutely fine with beginning the season with what we've currently got and giving Kalas the opportunity to make a name for himself at Chelsea.
Evaluating players based on preseason performances is a mostly pointless exercise anyway, but given the quality of the teams we'll be facing while in Asia, it's going to be next to impossible to reach any sort of conclusion on him yet. Jose Mourinho likes him though, and given his track record, that's good enough for me.