Young Chelsea hopeful Josh McEachran is hoping to convince new manager Andre Villas Boas he is the player to replace Michael Essien, who will be out of action for around six-months with a knee injury.
The England Under 21 international, who has today signed a five-year deal with the club, may get the chance as the Blues boss is yet to find a replacement for the injured Ghanaian and has denied the club will be chasing another player in the position.
The 18-year-old, who has been compared to Jack Wilshire, rose up through Chelsea’s youth team and is eager for the chance to impress in the senior side.
He said: "I feel really sorry for Michael because he has had a lot of injuries before but hopefully it will give me a chance to prove myself to Andre.
"Hopefully, I will get a run out against Portsmouth that would be good. I just want to get more minutes this season, if not at Chelsea then I will go out on loan, but I want to play here as much as I can."
Villa-Boas’ quest to sign a midfielder has been far from straightforward so far. Tottenham are clinging to Luka Modric, West Ham are asking for big money just to loan Scott Parker, and Cheick Tiote has pledged his future to Newcastle United.
McEachran, who has made a handful of first team appearances in his career, has the backing of former assistant Ray Wilkins, who was full of praise for the up and coming player.
He said: "A couple of years back, when I had just joined Chelsea, I was watching an Under-17 match between us and Racing, a club side from Argentina. Josh was playing, despite only being 15 I'd never seen him play before, but in the first half he cut inside someone and played an inch-perfect pass inside the full-back.
"I turned to the other Chelsea coaches next to me and said, 'That's Liam Brady!' It was the biggest compliment I could think of at the time."
Englnad Under 21 coach Stuart Pearce was also complimentary about the youngster’s playmaking ability when he spoke about the teenagers rise through the ranks.
He added: "Chelsea think extremely highly of him and you can see why. He's got the ability and the vision that you know, if players run off of him, he's got the ability to find them with passes.
“All of our cutting passes probably came from him. I think, in Josh, he's got a really outstanding talent, similar to Jack Wilshere, and it bodes well for us."
After just nine league appearances, McEachran may well get his chance to shine when Chelsea face Portsmouth for a pre-season friendly at Fratton Park on Saturday, July 16.
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