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Conte challenges Ruben Loftus-Cheek to fill hole in Chelsea squad left behind by Oscar

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Step right up!

Chelsea v Peterborough United - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

It’s a throwaway line as Antonio Conte reflects on Saturday’s win at Leicester, praising his players for a strong bounce-back performance from defeat at Spurs as well as the fans for the strong support, but it’s perhaps the most interesting and meaningful.

“I trust all my players. Ruben is a player with great quality. Now I think after Oscar left he could have the right space to show me and the club his potential.”

Before featuring in the last two games (one start and one late substitution), Loftus-Cheek had gone thirteen games in all competitions without an appearance and we had slowly started assuming that he would be sent out on loan. Newcastle United were strongly linked, for example.

But given the transfer activity so far in this window, which has seen Chelsea lose two midfielders, Loftus-Cheek might’ve just been presented with the perfect opportunity to stay and keep impressing first-hand.

Conte also spoke of Michy Batshuayi, though in not quite as specific terms, while reiterating that he’s more than happy to play the youth who, in his eyes, deserve to play.

“And also for Michy it's important to work this way, to show me they deserve to play. I have zero problem to play with young players.”

-Antonio Conte; source: Chelsea FC

Right words must be followed with right action, but it sounds good.