Emerson Palmieri has spent the majority of his 18 months at Chelsea stuck on the bench, but he’s recently come into some increased playing time, as Marcos Alonso’s form dipped and the wear and tear of the past three years caught up with him with a couple injuries. Alongside Emerson, two Chelsea academy products have risen to first-team prominence over the past few months, at times almost making Chelsea’s inconsistent results bearable.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, 23, and Callum Hudson-Odoi, 18, have both been at Chelsea since they were about 8 years old, and it’s been fantastic to see them actually come through and be trusted in key situations, not only the Cups, but in Europe and the Premier League matches as well.
Unfortunately Hudson-Odoi will be out for the next many months with an Achilles rupture, but he remains the future of Chelsea (especially a Hazard-less Chelsea). Emerson, who himself is just 24 and probably set for a long Chelsea career as well, agrees.
“For me, Callum is the future of Chelsea. He has already demonstrated at this age - at 18 - that he is very strong, and he has done it at Chelsea, which is a great team. For me, within two or three years, he will be at the top of his game.”
-Emerson; source: Goal
Strong praise, to be sure, but Emerson, giving an interview for the Chelsea vs. Burnley match programme, had even nicer words for Ruben Loftus-Cheek, with whom he’s combined to great effect, alongside Eden Hazard, on Chelsea’s new-look left flank.
“When we play together we’ve developed and understanding, a common way of playing, where at times we play the ball without needing to look to see where each other are. Us three on the left are finding it good playing together.”
“Ruben, for me, will become one of the most important footballers in the world because he’s a central midfielder who has everything. He is strong physically, he’s quick, he knows how to defend and how to attack, and he’s becoming a very important modern midfielder. He is a great player who will become even better.”
-Emerson; source: Football.London
Alas, things didn’t quite go according to plan against Burnley — “it felt like a loss,” reflected Loftus-Cheek afterwards — but hopefully Emerson’s vision of a glorious RLC/CHO-Chelsea future will come true sooner rather than later.