Photo: official Chelsea website

Since John Terry broke through the ranks to become Chelsea captain, no other Chelsea youth player have evolved into the first team. But Blues legend Gianfranco Zola believes Chelsea have the right structure to produce the next Terry, and that they’ll do that under Conte.

“Chelsea have a very good youth system, but that’s not the end of it,” Zola told Goal at the FWA Live event, sponsored by William Hill. “You can have the best youth development system in the world, but the competitions are the most important.

“Even if a young player is supremely talented, it can be difficult to find the time to play at a massive club. It is quite exceptional to find a young player like, for example, John Terry who comes in straight away and to be the best player.

“Or Buffon or Maldini in both of their first three games, they were the best player, best player and best player. Not everyone can do that. Chelsea have to be more clever now than when they bought and bought and bought, although it was good at the time.

“Conte and the club is trying to establish a philosophy, that is what I believe. Roman, he wants it too to try to play with an identity. Barcelona has their style, then Chelsea have their style and in that context everyone knows what they are doing.

“It is not Zola is playing or Hazard is playing, but Chelsea is playing. Then in that context, you can put on Loftus-Cheek and Chalobah because they know the context, they know what they are doing and stay at the same level.”

About the Author

Chelsea is more than just a football club to me; it's a passion I share, and my affinity with the Chelsea badge is one that will last forever. As far as watching my favourite team is concerned, I'd rather miss a meal than miss a Chelsea game.