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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