Conor Gallagher may be only thirteen months younger than Mason Mount, but he’s using his good friend as inspiration to forge his own path into the Chelsea first-team.
“That’s what has given me the amount of belief I have. If I carry on doing well, there is a good chance I can carry on next season playing for Chelsea.
“That isn’t going to be easy but I’ve got to keep doing what I’m doing this season and see what they say. When Derby were on TV last season, I’d always watch them. Mason, who is a mate of mine as well, plays in a similar position to me, so I’ve watched him a lot. It’s nice to see he’s doing well and someone I can look up to.”
Like Mount, Gallagher joined Chelsea before age 10, worked his way up the age groups, won various titles as club and youth international levels, was named Chelsea Academy Player of the Year (Mount in 2017, Gallagher in 2019), and is now excelling in the Championship just as Mount did last year. And, like Mount, he also idolizes Frank Lampard.
“I’m a Chelsea fan and he was always their best player as I was growing up. He is the all-time top scorer, a box-to-box midfielder. That’s just how I want to be.
“When I was in the academy, the staff would give me videos of him playing, how he makes the box and gets on the ball and always scanning — that sort of stuff. The main skill of his that I wanted to master was how many goals he scored.”
Gallagher will turn 20 in February, but he already has a wealth of experience, both while at Chelsea and training or traveling with the first-team — like for the Europa League final last season or for the charity friendly in Boston — and this season as well, learning from former Premier League stalwart Lee Bowyer.
But the number one lesson is of course to stay humble and keep working hard.
“[It’s] important to stay humble because you’ve travelled with the first team but you’ve got to keep working hard because the main aim is to be a regular player for the first team and I’m not there yet.”
-Conor Gallagher; source: The Sun
Gallagher, who’s recently been linked with an (unlikely) loan switch to Burnley, has been ever-present for Charlton Athletic this season, scoring six goals and collecting three assists — and earning seven yellow cards as well! — in just 22 appearances, mostly as a central midfielder. If he can keep that up, not only will he save Charlton from going straight back down to the third division (League One), but he will certainly be knocking on the first-team door for next season as well.