Antonio Conte: 'Youngsters must earn playing time'

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte gesticulates on the touchline during his side's Premier League clash with Hull City at the KCOM Stadium on October 1, 2016
© SilverHub
Chelsea boss Antonio Conte says that he will not "gift" playing time to the younger members of his first-team squad.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has claimed that "age is not important" in his first-team squad but insists that his younger players must earn their game-time.

Nathaniel Chalobah, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Ola Aina all came off the bench during the Blues' 3-0 win over Leicester City on Saturday, while Dominic Solanke was an unused substitute.

Conte has integrated the quartet into his plans for this season but he has said that he will not "gift" any minutes to his youngsters during the campaign.

The Italian is quoted by ESPN as saying: "People who know me will know I don't gift a place to anyone. Only those who deserve to play will play for me. It is important for Chalobah and Aina to understand this.

"When I have called Chalobah he has always answered me in a positive way. If they are ready I will put them in. In the future they can play from the start. Age is not important. I made my first appearance in Serie A at only 16."

Chelsea are next in action when they host Manchester United on October 23.

Head coach of Juventus Antonio Conte reacts during UEFA Champions League Group B match between Juventus and Galatasaray AS at Juventus Arena on October 2, 2013
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Chelsea14111232112134
2Arsenal1494133141931
3Liverpool1493235181730
4Manchester CityMan City1493230151530
5Tottenham HotspurSpurs1476124101427
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd145631916321
7West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom145542017320
8Everton145541716120
9Stoke CityStoke145451619-319
10Bournemouth145361922-318
11Watford145361824-618
12Southampton144551315-217
13Middlesbrough143651315-215
14Crystal Palace144282426-214
15Burnley144281223-1114
16Leicester CityLeicester143471724-713
17West Ham UnitedWest Ham143381529-1412
18Sunderland143291424-1011
19Hull City143291129-1811
20Swansea CitySwansea142391631-159