Cesar Azpilicueta believes it’s important for the senior players to set a good example to the large contingent of youngsters joining the Chelsea squad on pre-season.
Frank Lampard’s squad are currently in Ireland as the preparations for the new campaign get underway, with a week’s training in Dublin along with two matches against Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic on the agenda.
The likes of Trevoh Chalobah, Conor Gallagher and Marc Guehi are all part of the original 22-man squad to have made the trip, with Cesar explaining how important it is to integrate the young players to make them feel at home.
‘We have a lot of good youngsters here at Chelsea, many of them have come away with us on this trip and it’s a good chance for them to come in and impress,’ the Spaniard explained.
‘I’m a senior member of the team and it’s down to people like myself to lead by example, to set the standards for the young players to follow and you have to show this on the pitch with the way you play, but also with how you conduct yourself off it too.
‘We have to help these guys when they step up to first-team level because you have to remember, we were all young players starting out once.
‘It’s not easy for them but that’s why we integrate them into the squad and make the young players feel as comfortable as possible.
‘Everyone knows how good the Academy is here at Chelsea and now it’s a chance for the young players to stake a claim to play here.’
Azpilicueta is heading into his eighth pre-season as a Blue and while admitting the sessions never get any easier, he insists he’s excited for the new campaign and working under new boss – and former team-mate – Frank Lampard.
‘I’m really looking forward to the new season,’ added Cesar.
‘We’ve all had a good break, which was needed after a long season with the Europa League running until the end of May.
‘It was great to win a trophy to finish with and now we are all ready and raring to get back at it.
‘It’s always a lot of hard work during pre-season but it’s the work you have to put in, to create a good base for our physical condition.
‘We want to play with high intensity and we want to be dominant in games, the manager has explained how he wants us to play and we are all enjoying the camp so far.’