Is this the best thing about Kurt Zouma’s continuing appearances for Chelsea?

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Kurt Zouma looks as if he has become first choice central defender for Chelsea.

The former Saint-Etienne youngster started Chelsea’s last two Blues games, and he looked impressive coping with Raheem Sterling and Sergio Aguero.

Having replaced Gary Cahill in the starting XI after the Englishman committed a number of high-profile errors - notably in the FA Cup defeat to Bradford - the 20-year-old partnered John Terry for the vital League Cup semi-final with Liverpool, before keeping his place for the Premier League tie with Manchester City.

Despite the quality of the opposition, Zouma helped keep a clean sheet in the opening game - a performance that should reward him with a starting role in the Wembley Final - and was part of the side who conceded just once against City - a goal that was Thibaut Courtois’ fault, rather than due to any of the defenders.

Head coach Jose Mourinho has not been one to trust youth players in his time as a manager, but the faith shown in Zouma - and the impressive performances given by the Frenchman - may have just altered the Portuguese coach’s thinking, and it could be the start of a youthful rejuvenation at Stamford Bridge.

Having somewhat promised to bring through the likes of Lewis Baker, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Izzy Brown in West London, Mourinho has now been proven by Zouma that young players can star if given the chance. Since that City game, Brown and Loftus-Cheek have become full-time members of the first-team squad, and Brown could realistically feature for the second half of the campaign following the departures of Andre Schurrle and Mohamed Salah. Although Juan Cuadrado arrived at Stamford Bridge, there is one place spare in matchday squads for the young attacker.

It is unlikely that any of the youngsters will make an impact such as Zouma’s - you can’t imagine Loftus-Cheek starting in place of Cesc Fabregas in the League Cup Final - but he might be called upon against games with top flight strugglers. As the Blues look to balance their small squad across different competitions, these young stars of the future will get called upon, and maybe, just maybe, they can impress enough to warrant a starting role for Mourinho’s team.

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