Gary Cahill made way for Kurt Zouma for the game at Stamford Bridge.
Chelsea coach Steve Holland was again on media duties in the aftermath of the Blues’ 2-0 victory over Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge today – and the former Crewe Alexandra man had to explain the decision of Jose Mourinho to omit Gary Cahill from the Blues’ starting line up in favour of French youngster Kurt Zouma.
There had been suggestions that England international had been dropped, with the former Bolton Wanderers star having been particularly culpable as Harry Kane ran him ragged in the 5-3 New Year’s Day defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, but the Daily Star have reported that Holland has indicated that Cahill was merely given a rest.
Cahill has been almost ever present for Chelsea this season as he has formed a solid partnership alongside John Terry at the heart of Mourinho’s defence – but former St. Etienne man Zouma stepped into the line up effectively and his pace, in particular, really stood out for the Blues.
With the Frenchman potentially being the future of the Chelsea defence, there is reason for both Cahill and Terry to fear for their places long term, but Holland moved to reassure Cahill that he was only rested following the victory:
“Dropped is not a word we would use [about Cahill].”
“It’s a long, long season and we have a big squad of players.”
“We get criticism for not giving young guys a go but I don’t think Kurt Zouma put a foot wrong.”
“A 20-year-old making his first league start and if he carries on playing like that it won’t be his last either.”