Maurizio Sarri expects to make changes for Chelsea’s Europa League opener at PAOK, but hinted young players such as Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi are unlikely to feature.
Much has been made of Loftus-Cheek’s Chelsea situation in recent months, as he impressed on loan at Crystal Palace last term and forced his way into England’s World Cup squad.
He was tipped to become a rotation option at Chelsea upon his return to Stamford Bridge, but he has played just 33 minutes of Premier League football across two cameo appearances off the bench so far.
Similarly, Ampadu and Hudson-Odoi are yet to play at all, despite the Wales international impressing with his country and the latter being earmarked for a first-team role in pre-season by Sarri.
Despite several regulars such as Eden Hazard and Mateo Kovacic being rested, and Sarri likely to make up to five changes, the youngsters will likely be disappointed.
“I don’t know about Loftus-Cheek,” Sarri told reporters when asked if the midfielder was in line for a rare chance to stake his claim.
“For me, he is a very good player. I don’t know if there is a spot tomorrow. There is in the future.
“Now it is very difficult, because in the first part of the season it is very important to play with a very solid team. I might change four or five players, it is impossible to change every player in the match.
“I don’t know [if Loftus-Cheek is growing frustrated]. Unfortunately, you have to play with 11 players, 17 players tomorrow [Thursday] won’t agree with me.
“There is a match Thursday and on Wednesday after Sunday at West Ham. There will be a chance for everyone, but not for 25 or 28 players – the truth is this.
“For Hudson-Odoi, in his position in the last match we played Pedro and Hazard. I have also played [Victor] Moses and Willian.
“Ampadu, Hudson-Odoi and Loftus are the future. I don’t know if the right time tomorrow is for Odoi.”