Following an eye-catching full debut for Kenedy in the midweek cup match in the Midlands, the Chelsea squad has the full complement of quality wide players needed for the season ahead.
That is the view of Jose Mourinho, who during last season’s championship-winning campaign relied heavily on Eden Hazard and Willian in those positions.
With Kenedy lined-up on the left-hand side instead of Hazard against Walsall and with the Brazilian developing well, the manager has increasing options.
‘Kenedy can play there, but also Pedro can,’ notes Mourinho, ‘because for Pedro to play on the right or the left is the exactly same thing.
‘With Pedro, Hazard, Willian and Kenedy, we have no problems, we have competition, we can rotate, we can decide.’
Coming directly to Chelsea from Fluminense in his homeland, there was less known in England about the 19-year-old than is often the case when a new signing comes from a European club. This reduces the spotlight on a young player and is an advantage reckons our manager, who was ultimately convinced to include Kenedy in his first team squad for this season, rather than further his development at a loan club, by what he saw during pre-season.
‘It is perfect - quiet, calm, let him play when he plays and catch the opportunities,’ says Mourinho on the subject of Kenedy’s low-key introduction.
‘Bertrand Traore had the opportunity against Maccabi and Kenedy did against Walsall, and Ruben Loftus-Cheek did in both matches. This is the way to do it with them - calm, let them play, let them learn. They are good players with very good potential.
‘Kenedy had a good pre-season in the States and he played the game against Barcelona,’ Mourinho adds.
‘It was a friendly but he was playing against good players in front of over 75,000 with a big atmosphere. The fact that he could mentally cope with it gave us a little push, and for the evolution of the players it is better if they can stay with us, even if they don’t play as much as they could play in a smaller club. I always feel that with young players, that period with the Chelsea first team is very important for them.’