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Nathaniel Chalobah vs. Leicester City: 'Dream come true' as Chelsea midfielder passes debut test six years in the making

Chalobah to Conte: "I've been waiting for this for a long time, of course I am ready!"

On September 22, 2010, defending Premier League champions Chelsea hosted Newcastle United in the third round of the League Cup (then known as the Carling Cup). A youthful and highly rotated Chelsea side, featuring the likes of Kakuta, Bruma, Van Aanholt, McEachran, and Sturridge lost 4-3 in injury time, despite staging a two-goal comeback with just ten men. On the bench, wearing no.62 was 15-year-old Nathaniel Chalobah.

In those intervening six years, he'd make the Chelsea bench three more times, once against Wolves in the Premier League in January 2012, and twice earlier this season, against Watford in the league and against Bristol Rovers in the second round of the League Cup. In the meantime, he made 67 appearances for various Chelsea youth teams, 88 appearances for various England youth teams, and 106 senior professional appearances for various loan teams, such as Watford, Reading, Napoli, and a few others.

On September 18, 2016, Chalobah was once again on the Chelsea bench for a League Cup third round encounter. And then...

A debut six years in the making, and yet he's still just 21. The world is his oyster.

After the game, the young man reflected via a series of tweets on his Chelsea dream finally coming true.

"Dream come true for me today. Can't describe putting the shirt on and entering the pitch on my first competitive game. #goosebumps"

"The best feeling ever after 12 years of being at the club. Wanna say a big thank you to all the staff in the academy building that helped me, my family who have played a large part in keeping me positive, my friends and my loved ones. Not forgetting the Chelsea fans all over the world. Thank you all for your support and kind messages. We look forward to the next game now."

-Nathaniel Chalobah; source: Twitter

He talked to Chelsea TV as well.

Head coach Antonio Conte was happy to give the youngster his debut, especially since his introduction not only gave a more solid look to the Chelsea midfield, it also allowed Fabregas to push further forward to great effect.

Conte was far from the only person happy for Chalobah. Here's just a brief selection of tweets congratulating the 722nd player in Chelsea's history.

What a win, what a game, what a debut!

What a great day!

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