Chelsea defender heaps praise on Antonio Conte who thinks, eats and sleeps football.

Kurt Zouma has been speaking of his long awaited comeback to the Chelsea first team in the Premier League and has heaped praise on Anton...

Kurt Zouma has been speaking of his long awaited comeback to the Chelsea first team in the Premier League and has heaped praise on Antonio Conte.

Zouma made his first appearance in almost a year having suffered that horrific knee injury against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge last season. Having months still ahead of a possible return with a new manager appointed, it couldn't have been easy for our French defender who faced an uncertain future knowing that he could not show the manager what he could offer the team until later on in the season.

When asked of the summer meeting Antonio Conte for the first time and of the effect the Italian has had here since his arrival, Zouma said:

"I was really pleased when I learned I was going to America. I didn't know him [Conte] before, he didn't know me. He'd just watched me in the odd game on TV, but just one or two times maybe. Then he said he trusted me. Those words made a difference.

He's a really nice guy. He thinks, eats and sleeps football. He talks football, everything is football with him. He's so passionate and he wants to give that to the players.

Tactically we watch a lot of videos and we learn. Details are important to him. He says 'You can't be there, you need to be there because if the ball goes over you there you're dead, so just anticipate.' You learn a lot with him, a lot. The Italian style is very good for defenders.

My first year at Chelsea we won the Capital One Cup and then the Premier League. I was dreaming, but managers go. It's part of football. I don't feel guilty. Mourinho's gone, let's think about the future.

It was a bad season, now we are doing well again. Conte loves what he does. He wants to give that special feeling to us. We need to love football like he does, to breathe football. That's what he wants." - Source: ESPN.

You have to say that must have been massive personally for Kurt Zouma. To have that uncertainty in your mind to then hear that from the new manager would have been a real lift to his spirits to then encourage him to really kick on with his rehabilitation which he has.

At present, as with the likes of JT and Cesc Fabregas, Zouma has to wait for his chance because our back three of Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Cesar Azpilicueta are settled into their roles and playing fantastically well.

I have said this in another post recently written that this summer will be more than interesting and will give us an indication of the intention of Antonio Conte as he plans for a season (hopefully) back into the Champions League. Kurt Zouma surely has to be ahead of the likes of Andreas Christensen who is due to return from Germany, and Nathan Ake?

The fact that a year on from his bad injury, Zouma was able to come on as a late replacement against Arsenal is nothing but excellent news for the player, the club and the supporters. He was showing plenty of signs of improvement with every game he was playing at the time before he was injured.

If you take the ability he has and give him a chance to develop the defensive side of his game with that Italian mentality of defending, he could turn out to be world class.

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