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
1Chelsea25193352183460
2Manchester CityMan City25164551292252
3Tottenham HotspurSpurs25148346182850
4Arsenal25155554282650
5Liverpool25147454302449
6Manchester UnitedMan Utd25139338211748
7Everton25118640271341
8West Bromwich AlbionWest Brom2510783431337
9Stoke CityStoke258893036-632
10West Ham UnitedWest Ham2595113443-932
11Southampton2586112831-330
12Burnley2593132736-930
13Watford2586112942-1330
14Bournemouth2575133549-1426
15Swansea CitySwansea2573153154-2324
16Middlesbrough25410111927-822
17Leicester CityLeicester2556142443-1921
18Hull City2555152249-2720
19Crystal Palace2554163246-1419
20Sunderland2554162446-2219