ZOLA PRAISE FOR YOUNG BLUE
After selecting the youngster for his first professional start at the weekend, Watford manager and Chelsea legend Gianfranco Zola believes Nathaniel Chalobah has what it takes to go all the way.
The 17-year-old, who can play in defence or midfield and was captain of the Chelsea side that won the FA Youth Cup last season, started for the Hornets on Saturday in their 2-2 draw against Bristol City, earning rave reviews. He is on loan at the Championship side until the start of January.
'I thought for 25 minutes, or 30 minutes, he was quite outstanding,' Zola told the Watford Observer. 'His performance was really top class and he played well when he also went to the back.
'He is a player that if he maintains the right attitude and keeps working and focusing on learning then he could really become an important player. He can go as high as he wants to.
'He has all the qualities to become a top player but he just needs to work hard every day and not lose the desire to work hard in training.'
The Italian did have words of warning for the Chelsea man however, insisting he must keep learning from those around him if he is to progress.
'The common mistake for players of his age, when they play and are having compliments like I am giving him right now, is to stop learning,' Zola said.
'It is too early; he has the potential but he has to really keep his feet on the ground and work hard.'
Chalobah was initially in the England Under 19 squad that begin their European Championship qualifying in Estonia today but was withdrawn, as was another young Chelsea player Lewis Baker. John Swift has been added to the squad however.