Chelsea starlet Bertrand Traore is delighted to be in the first team fold this season after 18 months spent on loan in Holland.
The 24-cap Burkina Faso international joined the Blues from Auxerre as a junior, and signed his first professional contract in October 2013. Three months later, he left for Vitesse and spent a season-and-a-half in the Eredivisie.
After netting 20 times in 51 games for Peter Bosz's side, the 19-year-old has subsequently been handed a work permit and cleared to play in the Premier League from the 2015/16 season onwards.
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With manager Jose Mourinho recently confirming that the winger is part of his plans after appearing in the pre-season defeat against New York Red Bulls last week, Traore is ready to work with the first team at Stamford Bridge and force his way into the reckoning.
"I’m very happy to be here. I get to work with some of the best players in the world and one of the best managers," the teenager told the official Chelsea website.
"I am trying to do my best in every training session right now. It’s something nice to have the support of the manager but I have to prove that I deserve to be here. I have to work hard, do my best and take my chance."
Reflecting on his spell at the GelreDome, Traore believes he benefited from a full pre-season with the Dutch side before making a significant impact in the following campaign - scoring 14 goals in 33 league appearances.
His improved performances have helped to secure his spot amongst the seniors in west London, and he'll be hoping for a similar outcome next term after taking part in the tour of North America.
"I think my loan was very good. I learned a lot," he continued. "I had a period of adaptation in the first six months then after I had a full season with the team including pre-season. It was much better.
"I learned a lot tactically, I also learned how to play without the ball, to defend, to play as a team, and I think I improved my mentality during my loan. All in all I was able to improve my performances and it was a good step in my career."
Despite being away from the Premier League across Europe, Traore insists he kept track Chelsea's progress throughout the season, watching as many games as possible and seeing Mourinho's side claim the title.
And now that he's got the backing of the Special One, Traore will be hoping to make an immediate impression on his manager and make history by becoming the first player from Burkina Faso to play in the English top flight.
He said: "I tried to watch every game Chelsea were playing if my timetable allowed me to do so. The team was obviously the best and also I think in every position they had the best players. That’s why they won the league.
"No player from Burkina Faso has played in the Premier League before. I wish I will be the first one and then more players will come.
"Of course Chelsea is so much bigger than Vitesse and Burkina Faso’s national team but I am already used to playing in full stadiums in front of a lot of people. I hope I can use those experiences so it will be normal for me."
Traore will be hoping for a chance to impress in the Blues' final game of their pre-season tour against Barcelona on Tuesday night, before coming home with the squad ahead of Sunday's FA Community Shield clash against Arsenal.
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