Midway through Djordje Petrovic’s final interview of the season, the discussion turns to the friendships he’s built at Chelsea. Then, largely unprompted, comes a revelation. ‘Beans,’ the goalkeeper says. ‘That is what I call Cole. I call him Beans.’

The broad smile that follows Petrovic's admission has become commonplace at Cobham. The goalkeeper is a popular member of the first-team squad – both with teammates and staff – and showcased his quality across 31 appearances for the Blues in 2023/24.

But back to Cole. Or should we say Beans? Petrovic knows context is required and is happy to explain further.

'Cole is an amazing guy, always relaxed... maybe even more on the pitch than off it,' says the 24-year-old. 'He has had an amazing season and helped the team a lot.

'Sometimes we have lunch together and I have beetroot a lot, most times. So, Cole gave me the nickname Beetroot. I needed one for him and he eats a lot of beans, which I think is normal for English people, so he is now Beans.

'I know people call him Cold Palmer, which is a correct nickname for him, but for me he is Beans.'

Palmer isn't the only teammate Petrovic has bonded with during his first season at Chelsea. Naturally, friendships have been made with his fellow goalkeepers Robert Sanchez and Marcus Bettinelli.

'We have built a good chemistry,' says the Serbian, who is part of his country's squad for Euro 2024. 'But that is the same for all the players. A lot of us were in our first season so we developed and improved together as a group.

'Everything has happened very quickly for me. I have very much enjoyed it and in my first season – not that I didn’t believe in myself or my level –  playing so many games wasn't really expected. But I tried to improve every day and help my teammates.'

It wasn't until December 10 that Petrovic made his Chelsea debut; he came off the bench late on against Everton at Goodison Park. A first start against Sheffield United followed and ended with a clean sheet.

Then came the visit of Newcastle United in the Carabao Cup semi-final. It was an evening at Stamford Bridge that forged a bond between the goalkeeper and Chelsea supporters.

'When I saved the penalty to win the shootout, that is one of the best feelings of my career,' recalls Petrovic. 'This season, there have been good games and some big wins, but also other chances for us to learn.

'The Premier League is another level compared to the rest of Europe. Everything is so fast, so quick, you have less time to react and I felt I needed to work a lot before I started to play.

'I had to stay patient and not put pressure on myself. That’s normal in training, if you don’t play you want to push. But you can’t be frustrated, you need to believe in yourself and work and then hopefully everything comes from that.’

Petrovic was one of our final signings of the 2023 summer transfer window. He completed his move from New England Revolution on August 26 and was named among our substitutes a week later against Nottingham Forest.

Yet by moving to the Premier League, the goalkeeper was extending a campaign that had started the previous January in the U.S.

‘I don't remember the date exactly but I started pre-season with New England in January 2023,' he explains. 'We played until August and then I came to Chelsea and I have played a season here.

‘It was a big change to bring my life from Boston to London. The stuff outside the pitch, getting an apartment, settling in, but I’ve enjoyed it all.

'I love to play football and to train, and to be with my teammates and all the staff here at Cobham. I will have a little bit of rest this summer, but not too much as I hope to go the European Championships with Serbia.'

A first campaign in English football has ended with Petrovic being selected to represent his side at the tournament in Germany. It is deserved recognition for his performances for Chelsea but Petrovic insists there is far more to come.

He says: ‘I’m only 24 years old, so I’m still learning. I want to become the complete goalkeeper and work on the details because details at this level are everything. A small step can change your decision.

'So I am thinking about that every day and working to get better. That is my main target moving forward: improve and become a more complete goalkeeper for this club.’