ESSIEN HAILS ATSU ABILITIES

Michael Essien has offered an insight into the talents of his compatriot Christian Atsu, who signed for the Blues from Porto shortly before the closure of the transfer window, and has since completed a season-long loan move to Vitesse Arnhem.

Essien, who returned to the international fold last weekend following a lengthy absence, believes Atsu has all the attributes required to become a top player, and praised the 21-year-old's attitude.

'I've known Christian for a little while now, and I saw him when we met up with the national team recently,' he tells the official Chelsea website. 'He's a level-headed boy, a very good player and hopefully he will do well for Chelsea in the future.

'He is a winger who plays mainly on the right-hand side although he is left-footed, so he likes to cut inside, and he is quite quick as well. He is only young but already you can see he has an eye for goal.

'For a young player he is already quite experienced because he played a few matches for Porto in last season's Champions League. The loan move should be good for him as hopefully it will allow him to play more regular first team football.'

Christian Atsu

On a personal note, Essien is yet to feature in a competitive match for the Blues since returning from his loan spell at Real Madrid last season, where he worked under the guidance of Jose Mourinho.

Having suffered in the past with injuries, however, the powerful midfielder is feeling the benefits of a full pre-season campaign, and is looking forward to assisting his team-mates when called upon by a manager he knows so well.

'I'm feeling very sharp and fit,' he says. 'I haven't missed a single training session since we came back for pre-season so I feel good.

'I'm just waiting for an opportunity, and as soon as the manager needs me I'm ready to help the team.'