Mauricio Pochettino has explained why Thiago Silva was not named permanent Chelsea captain despite being widely regarded as one of football’s most influential leaders on and off the pitch.

The Blues named Cobham graduate Reece James as the club’s new skipper after the departure of Chelsea legend Cesar Azpilicueta this summer.

There were many candidates to replace the Spaniard, with Reece James, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva all in contention for the armband. But all three will likely captain the Blues at some point this season, says Pochettino.

‘Our first conversation was really good. I explained my ideas and the project, and I think he was agreeing, listening to ideas. He was really humble. I said to him, “Look Thiago, I know you really well but to assure you that you are going to play, like any player, you need to deserve to play.”

‘He is a fantastic footballer and has been in his career. A good thing happened, it surprised me and I think we created a good and respectful relationship,’ Pochettino said. 'He is going to play and show his quality. In a young squad — to have some experience like him — is always very helpful.'

Despite turning 39 years old next month, Thiago continues to belie his age. His experience, in stark contrast for example, to his partner Levi Colwill is off the scale. That will only benefit the whole squad, says his head coach.

‘For different reasons and circumstances, I am looking at not only the present but the future. It was a great opportunity, because he is ready, for Reece to be the captain. When the player is clever like Thiago, who is 38 and nearly 39. Do you think he is thinking about needing the armband? He is a captain as well like Reece and Chilwell.

‘You don’t need the armband on your arm to feel captain. He is captain also. He is going to help Chilwell and Reece to be great captains for the club.’