Emerson Palmieri has had to be patient, determined, steadfast. His professional career, following his debut for Santos in 2011 as a 16-year-old, has been heavy on frustration, injuries, and bench time. He’s backed up the likes of Eduardo Mena, Aachraf Lazaar, Lucas Digne, Marcos Alonso — all internationals. His one and only season so far when he was the undisputed starter ended in an ACL tear.
So it’s taken Emerson a while to get here. But having just turned 25 last month, he’s arrived just in the nick of time. His prime years are very much ahead of him. And things are going as well now, for both club and (adopted) country, as they ever have.
“I think it is the best period of my career.
“I’m very happy at Chelsea, just as I was last season with Maurizio Sarri. Obviously, a player is always happier when he plays regularly.”
-Emerson; source: Football Italia
Emerson has played every minute of every game so far this season, and he completed the full 90 for Italy yesterday as well, providing the assist for their equalizer against Armenia.
For Chelsea, he’s been one of the better players despite the early season mixed results, consistently rated as one of the best-performers by the fans, and evidently by the coaches as well. Marcos Alonso, who had held the position with an iron grip the previous 2+ seasons has played a total of 1 minute, plus some stoppage time.
After the international break, the distribution of minutes will undoubtedly change as the fixture list gets busier, but the starting job is now definitely Emerson’s to lose.