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Chelsea starlet Ola Aina is one to watch


OLA AINA is enjoying the best spell off his burgeoning Chelsea career. Just being part of the Premier League table topping side is good by any stretch of the imagination, yet Aina got his most game minutes in the Blues FA Cup third round 4-1 win over Peterborough.

The 20 year old English defender came on in the 57 minute for Gary Cahill in the win over the League 1 side, and has been quietly impressive since being given a squad number by Antonio Conte. But the starlet reveals that his Chelsea career could have been over before it even started.

"It's been really good, it's been good for experience obviously. As I'm still fairly young, it's been good to be involved in the squad among these quality players and learning a lot from them.

"At the end of pre-season there was a discussion and I found out I'd be staying here. The manager said he was impressed with me in pre-season, so that was a good moment for me.

"Yes that's a nice feeling. As a young player, you could feel like you're below the more experienced players so him saying that in the press conferences and interviews made me feel good about myself," said the Blues number 34.

Pinching himself to see it wasn't a dream, Aina told of the time he felt finally comfortable amongst the likes of Diego Costa and Eden Hazard and that he had the right to be a first team player?

"Probably at the end of August when I started to feel at home. Over time, the feeling was gradually building and building since pre-season. Things like being named as substitute, then getting off the bench, they play a part in that feeling as well."

Having come through the youth ranks, Aina believes that the Chelsea Academy was the best place for his early years.

"It goes to show that our Academy definitely does have talent and you can never stop dreaming and hoping. Over the past few years we've been working hard to get into the squad here and we've kept believing and dreaming. So for that to actually come to pass is such a good feeling. It was really special for me," said Aina.

Recalling his senior debut in a start against Bristol Rovers in the EFL Cup, Aina took it all in his stride.

"It felt pretty different to be fair. I wasn't nervous or anything, because I don't normally get nervous, I get excited about things. It was a big achievement especially to start as well. That was a big thing for me, so I was really happy with it."

With Conte giving his backing to his young defender, there is every chance that Aina will get more game time and perhaps even more starts at Stamford Bridge.

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