Morata trains with Thai visitors

Players from the Chelsea Foundation International Development Centre in Thailand enjoyed a training session with Alvaro Morata this week as the Spanish striker joined them at Cobham.

The 25-year-old surprised the group when he joined them for a training session much to the delight of the youngsters in attendance.

Both girls and boys from our International Development Centre in Bangkok have spent the last week in London, enjoying fixtures against our Foundation Development sides, regular training sessions at Cobham and visits to Stamford Bridge to watch Antonio Conte’s side face Watford and Everton.

Morata then brought their trip to a memorable end when he joined our guests on Thursday afternoon for a kick-a-round before posing for photos, signing autographs and answering questions.

Speaking after the session, Morata said: ‘It’s very nice and beautiful to come and do these type of things because it reminds me of when I was little and I was always waiting for a day like this.

‘It’s a good experience and I’m very happy to meet all of the children.

‘We need to remember where we come from and it’s very important that I don’t forget that one day I was a kid and I dreamt of playing at a club like Chelsea or in the Premier League.

‘Now I’m part of this team and I hope one day we see one of these children playing at the club.’

Established two and a half years ago, the International Development Centre runs a full-time comprehensive grassroots programme and delivers sessions for more than 900 players per week with two of our Chelsea Foundation coaches living in Thailand.

For the first time, girls from Thailand were members of the visiting party and they were also given the opportunity to watch Chelsea Ladies train before being treated to a Q&A session with skipper Katie Chapman, Fran Kirby, Gilly Flaherty, Claire Rafferty and Hannah Blundell.

Senior international development officer David Monk, who oversaw the visit, said: ‘We’ve had a great week with our group from the International Development Centre in Thailand and specifically in Bangkok, where we have a partnership with NIST.

‘We are very keen in the international department at the Foundation to give an authentic experience to all of our participants, whether that’s in Thailand with the representation of our coaches actually being there on the ground or actually bringing them over to here to make them feel a part of the Chelsea family.

‘We’ve left a legacy in Thailand off the back of our tours and now these guys coming over are having a genuine Chelsea experience and unprecedented access to what we call our wonderful world of Chelsea.'

For more information on our Asia Development Programmes, click here.