Chelsea vs Preston: Mauricio Pochettino hails Alfie Gilchirst as he makes first start in FA Cup clash | Football

Alfie Gilchrist made his first start for Chelsea against Preston (Photo: Getty)

Mauricio Pochettino hopes Alfie Gilchrist can continue making a ‘big impact’ for Chelsea as the academy graduate makes his first start for the club.

The 20-year-old was named in the starting XI for Chelsea’s FA Cup third-round clash against Preston North End on Saturday evening.

The manager promised he was taking the match very seriously and has indeed selected a strong line-up featuring the likes of Cole Palmer, Enzo Fernandez andRaheem Sterling.

Though naturally a centre-back, Gilchrist lined-up on the right of a back four, with Axel Disasi and Levi Colwill in the middle, and right-back Malo Gusto filling in at left-back.

Gilchrist made his Blues debut as a late substitute in the 2-1 Premier League win over Crystal Palace two weeks ago and came off the bench again in the last game against Luton Town.

‘Alfie is a player that has been helping us in the last few games,’ Pochettino said ahead of kick-off.

‘He’s made a big impact from the bench and today he has the possibility to play from the start in front our home fans.

Chelsea FC v Crystal Palace - Premier League

Gilchrist has been with Chelsea since 2014 (Photo: Getty)

‘I think this is a good part of his development, to be able to play for Chelsea in front our fans from the start in a big competition like the FA Cup.

‘This is a big competition for us and we want to make sure we get through [to the next round].

‘We’ve picked a strong team today which we feel is capable of reaching the next round but we know we will have to be at our best to do that because Preston will make it very difficult for us.’

Gilchrist joined Chelsea’s academy in 2014 and has frequently captained the Blues’ various youth teams, earning comparisons to club legend John Terry.


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