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Kurt Zouma at the ready, for he could be Mourinho's new Raphael Varane

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Martin Stoever

Good timing on these quotes from Kurt Zouma in light of the Gary Cahill injury concern from yesterday's England friendly.

While one would presume that in case of any actual missed time, Branislav Ivanovic would be first in line to replace Gary (with Filipe Luis coming in at full back), the next option after him would be the 19-year-old, largely untested Kurt Zouma.  It seems that Mourinho is aware of this as well, and has made sure the young Frenchman stays ready.  Just like a certain other young Frenchman with whom Mourinho worked not too long ago.

[Mourinho] told me, 'Varane, I made him start straightaway against City. You have to be ready at any time.'

And it's not just at Chelsea that Zouma hopes to follow the Varane path.

"I take Varane and Eliaquim Mangala as models. Today, they're in the senior team.  I hope to join them. Euro 2016 is an objective I have set myself. Even if places will be hard-earned, I'm aware of that. The door is not far."

"When I was at Saint-Etienne and I didn't play, I immediately got annoyed. But I've learned. Now, there are experienced players, stars in my position, and they do very good work. I take my time. I learn alongside these defenders. I know my time will come."

In the meantime he's staying patient and learning to fit in with the rest of the stars in the Chelsea team.

"They're great players that you see on TV, that you choose on PlayStation. At the start, you almost say to yourself that you can't even approach them."

"Diego Costa, he's very, very crazy. Sometimes, he gives me a little tap on the back of the head, and says: 'Let me past'. Ivanovic also makes jokes. In the squad, they have a bit of laugh at me, about my age. Because I'm a big, solid guy of 19."

"Even the coach once, he made fun of me. There was a blood test, and he told me jokingly: 'Now we'll see if you've lied about your age.' But honestly, they're cool, they are open."

Again with the age jokes, Jose?  They're getting a bit... old at this point.  Methinks it's time to pick up some new material.