With many fans clamouring for Chelsea boss Antonio Conte to give more youth players a chance, Conte insists the club must decide if they want to fight for titles or develop young players.
“You must decide if you want to fight for the title or develop your young players, two different ways,” Conte said.
“If the young player is ready to play regularly it’s possible to do both. Why not? Show me a young player ready to play regularly with Chelsea and I am ready to do this.
“Don’t forget my first game in Serie A, I was only 16 years old. I am the first person who is open to play young players because another coach did this with me.”
Wayne Rooney announced himself to English football with a spectacular strike against Arsenal in 2002 when he was a 16-year-old and Conte believes it’s not easy to have many Rooneys in football.
“Rooney showed his potential and he kept this high level and he improved this level,” Conte added.
“We are talking about an icon of football in general, but it’s not easy to have many Rooneys. A young player must be ready to play with a great team and play regularly.
“Usually in this type of football there is a path for the young player. It’s very difficult to see players who are 16, 17, 18 years old playing regularly. They have to develop and come back to play regularly with a great team.
“This is the right way. I repeat: I like to work with young players. Last season we won the league with players from the Academy and 14 or 15 senior players.”