Monday, January 30, 2023

‘Too flattering’ Chelsea world cup star shares Thomas Tuchel compliment that surprised him and made him laugh

‘Too flattering’ Chelsea world cup star shares Thomas Tuchel compliment that surprised him and made him laugh

Conor Gallagher laughed at comparisons to Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante and expressed surprise at his England call-up to halt his decline in west London.

The 22-year-old did not expect to be in the team after starting just six of Chelsea’s 20 Premier League games this season, with the club currently in eighth position.

As he sat in the FA’s training camp in the Al Wakrah area, Gallagher expressed his genuine relief after receiving the call.

“To be honest, I didn’t expect it,” Gallagher told reporters in Qatar. “I don’t know about percentages, I’m not great at maths. I didn’t really expect it.

“Obviously I was hoping there was a chance. I kept hoping, and when I got the text, I was so proud and honoured. I told my dad first like always.

“He’d always be the first person I’d tell that amazing news to, he’s my biggest fan and my biggest inspiration.

When announcing the squad last week, Southgate cited Gallagher’s playing style, mentality, and performance at Crystal Palace as reasons for his selection.

There was little discussion of his troubled return to Chelsea, and Gallagher admits it was a risk not to return to Palace on loan in order to ensure his seat on the plane.

“A lot of people said I was at a team where I played week in, week out and I would have had more of a chance. [They also said] maybe I haven’t played as much football as I’d like but I am at Chelsea which is my dream club, the team I always wanted to play for.

“I am trying to prove myself there and impress the manager as much as I can. Luckily enough, I was called up for the World Cup is a great feeling. All focus now is on here and training as hard as we can to get ready for the games.”

Former manager Thomas Tuchel has long desired the return of Gallagher, who he believed shared many of N’Golo Kante’s qualities.

It’s a comparison Gallagher enjoys, although he believes it’s overly flattering: “When he said it, it did make me laugh and surprise me a little bit.

“It’s obviously a massive compliment, even if I’m half the player Kante is because I feel like he’s the best midfielder in the world, probably still now when he’s fit.

“We are obviously different players. He probably gets around a bit more than me, he’s a bit sharper than me. So yeah, we’re different players.”

Gallagher, who possesses the greatest running power among all England’s midfielders, was selected due to his Kante-like qualities.

“I feel like I can bring energy going forward and defensively as well,” he added. “In whatever position the manager players me, I will do my best to play it right and be as effective as I can on the pitch. Whether that’s to score goals or try to win the ball back then that’s what I can do.”

‘Too flattering’ Chelsea world cup star shares Thomas Tuchel compliment that surprised him and made him laugh

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