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Christensen targets starting center back role under Sarri at Chelsea

Vying for Maurizio Sarri’s trust

Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

There is little doubt that Andreas Christensen is already brilliant player, at the ripe of old age of 22. It wasn’t just luck that he became the first Chelsea Academy prospect to complete the path from Academy to Loan Army and to regular starter for the first-team, making 40 appearances (34 starts) last season.

Things however turned a bit sour towards the end of the season, in part due to his young age, and in part due to fitness and concentration issues. After a streak of crucial mistakes in some of Chelsea’s biggest games, Christensen was dropped from the starting lineup. Veteran captain Gary Cahill was reinstated and instantly provided the Blues with a bit of much needed security at the back. Cahill wasn’t a tremendous upgrade as we still failed to finish top four, but just enough to help get the win and clean sheet in the FA Cup final against Manchester United.

Christensen did get himself a spot in the Denmark squad for the World Cup, and featured in all four of their games in Russia, though half the time he played defensive midfield instead of center back. Still, it was nice to see him recover from the fatigue and errors that had crept into his game.

“You know, you feel a bit tired playing all the games. But all the work in training, especially in the games, it prepares you mentally and a little bit physically because you know what you’re going to come up against. But you still use a lot of energy throughout the season so it’s still tough, but it prepares you a lot...”

“I think mentally, that’s the hardest thing about football. The body, you train in pre-season so you can work through it but mentally you still have to be prepared for every game and still be ‘there’.”

“I don’t think you really get away from it that much. But I feel fresh or as fresh as I can be after the season... it’s difficult to say, actually.”

Christensen’s certainly going to have be at his freshest if he wants to challenge for a starting spot this season. Presumably Antonio Rüdiger is the one nailed on starter in the group, but David Luiz, too, seems to be ahead of Christensen in the pecking order at the moment in part due to being able to train under Sarri since day one. But, just like last season, that can easily change once the season start.

“[A starting spot] is one of the goals. I want to build on last season and get better.”

“There’s not much to say [about that] because that’s where you want to be. I want to play, hopefully, the whole season again.”

-Andreas Christensen; source: Evening Standard

Christensen started against Lyon last night and did pretty well, displaying his usual cool, calm, composed self. He did seem to pick up a knock which has become a worrying trend, but hopefully it’s nothing serious.

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