Kurt Zouma has played down recent comparisons to Marcel Desailly, claiming that it's too early in his burgeoning Stamford Bridge career to be likened to the Chelsea legend.
The France U21 international has made an impressive start to life in west London, breaking through to Jose Mourinho's first-team midway through the campaign.
Zouma has successfully edged out Gary Cahill from the starting XI in recent weeks and established himself as John Terry's main central defensive partner.
However, in the absence of Nemanja Matic for Sunday's Capital One Cup final against Tottenham Hotspur, the former Saint Etienne starlet was pushed further forward into holding midfield.
It was another role that Desailly used to infrequently feature, and after excelling in a slightly more advanced position Zouma has spoken out again about the inevitable comparisons that have followed.
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"It’s a lovely thing for the boss to say that I’m the new Marcel Desailly," Zouma was quoted saying by the London Evening Standard. "But it’s too early to say that because Marcel is a legend of Chelsea - I have only played a few games.
"I’m only 20-years-old and I have to improve every day. Desailly is one of my idols. I loved this player before. He is amazing to me so I’m very proud. But I have to keep working.”
Zouma has started 14 games in all competitions this term, not a bad return for his debut campaign with Chelsea. He impressed in matches against Liverpool and Manchester City and is set to become a permanent fixture in the senior team for many more years to come.
It was after yesterday's Wembley win that Mourinho made the outlandish claim that Zouma reminded him of Desailly because of how successfully he combated Tottenham’s midfield threat from in front of the back four.
“It’s very difficult for a central defender to play there, because they don’t have pressure from behind," he reflected, as quoted by West London Sport. “In that position you are surrounded by players and you have to think quicker.
"He’s our new Marcel Desailly. We were preparing him to play that role and the kid did a fantastic job for us.
“Tottenham move the ball very well and with Cesc Fabregas and Ramires in there we knew we couldn’t reach them. We didn’t give them the game they were expecting.”
Chelsea fans: How impressed have you been with Kurt Zouma since arriving at Stamford Bridge? Would he make your first-choice Blues XI? Share your thoughts below...
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