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Michy Batshuayi to start EFL Cup tie against Bournemouth

Michy Batshuayi to start against Bournemouth
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Antonio Conte will bring back-up striker Michy Batshuayi into Chelsea's starting lineup for the midweek EFL Cup tie against Bournemouth.

Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has confirmed that he intends to hand a rare start to Michy Batshuayi in Wednesday night's EFL Cup quarter-final tie against Bournemouth.

The 24-year-old has been used from the off just five times all season, including against Nottingham Forest and Everton in the previous two rounds of this competition.

Rather than bring in fit-again striker Alvaro Morata, who returned to action from the bench against Southampton at the weekend, Conte has suggested that Batshuayi will be given the chance to lead the line at Stamford Bridge in the all-Premier League affair.

"[Morata] is OK. He had this problem in his back before the game against West Ham and then he struggled a lot," he told reporters. "But now he's working very well, he's finding his best form. Tomorrow I want to give an opportunity and a chance to play to Batshuayi."

Asked whether youngsters Callum Hudson-Odoi, Dujon Sterling and Ethan Ampadu would get further playing time, Conte added: "I think these players are the future for Chelsea. Sterling is a really good player, Odoi won the [Under-20s] World Cup and Ampadu played the last game [in this competition] against Everton. Maybe he could start also.

"I must consider the young players if they deserve to have this chance. Sterling, a lot of times, is working with us this season. Ampadu is with the first team every day and Odoi is another player that deserves to have a chance to show that he can play for this team for 10 years, for 15 years.

"Before taking a decision on if a player plays for the starting XI or not, the last part of the body I look at is the head. They don't play because they're a 'big player' or a 'name'.

"This is not my idea of football. If they deserve to play, they play. [Andreas] Christensen is playing at 21. I put Christensen in because he deserves to be in, and this guy has fantastic prospects for the present and the future."

Belgium international Batshuayi has 10 goals in 18 appearances for club and country in the first half of the 2017-18 campaign.


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