After a summer spent listening to transfer rumors, Conor Gallagher has only gone and made himself indispensable to Chelsea so far this season, starting just about every game and leading all midfielders and attacking players in minutes played. He’s captained the side more often than any other player as well, with Reece James and Ben Chilwell once again missing significant time with injury.
But it’s not just availability that’s been Gallagher’s best ability. At his best, he’s combined a tribute act to the incomparable N’Golo Kanté’s two-lunged performances in midfield with the forward pressing and attack-prompting of former golden child Mason Mount. Gallagher has played deep, he’s played high up, he’s played wide right, and everywhere in between.
It’s almost as if he feels he’s had a point to prove. Which, well, he did. And he is.
“Yeah, I love it. I think most times in my career I’ve had a point to prove and I love the challenge and I always want new challenges and targets to set myself, so I just want to carry on what I’m doing now and help Chelsea climb up the table.
“The manager picks his team and we have good relationship, he understands my game, he understands what I bring to the team and right now I think it’s really working, so hopefully we can only get better.
“It is really important to have that fighting spirit as well and I think I try to bring that to the team. I always work as hard as I can and I try and rub that off on the other players as well. You could see that because everyone gave their all, everyone was brilliant in terms of work ethic and it’s something we’re going to need going forward along with all the player’s qualities as well.”
The turnaround has been so complete that contract renewals talks have even been rumored a couple times. The Mail reported earlier this month that we are “planning” talks, with more recent rumblings today claiming that we’re now “set to enter” said talks. So basically, something’s probably going on behind the scenes with a little over 18 months left on his current deal, though Gallagher’s focus is undoubtedly on the football itself.
And our fortunes in said football are starting to turn around as well, despite the setback of the last 13 minutes on Saturday.
“We will definitely take a lot of positives [from the 2-2 draw against Arsenal]. Straight after the game it hurts because we were hoping to get a win, but once we reflect on it, take a couple of days to get over the draw, I think we’ll be happy with the performance. And, obviously being against Arsenal, hopefully that’s something we can build on.
“I think we’re growing in confidence, we’re working really hard to improve as a team and to understand each other’s games which is really important. It does take time but we’ve definitely improved the last few games. Obviously it takes time but you can’t fault the talent and the work ethic in the group right now.
“Everyone wants the best, everyone is working their hardest in training and in games. So yeah it’s going take time but it’s good to see the positives in the last few games.”
-Conor Gallagher; source: Evening Standard
Leading by words and example! Love to see it.