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Hector on Chelsea bench for first friendly

BLUES BROTHER: Michael Hector

MICHAEL HECTOR, Jamaica's towering defender, was involved in ‎Chelsea's inaugural outing under new boss Antonio Conte on July 16.

The 23-year‎-old was selected in Conte's squad that tackled hosts Rapid Vienna on Saturday, but was an unused substitute in their shock 2-0 defeat.

London-born Hector, signed by Chelsea last September in a deadline day deal from Reading, stayed with the Championship side on loan last season.

But after manager Jose Mourinho was fired by Chelsea, with Guus Hiddink in temporary charge until former Juventus and Italian head coach Conte was appointed in May‎, then it was up in the air whether Hector would be part of Chelsea's 2016-2017 campaign.

Conte, who won a trio of ‎Serie A crowns with Turin-based team Juventus deploying his creative and innovative 3-5-2 formation, surprisingly opted for a 4-2-3-1 line-up in Austria with Hector not getting the nod.

The successful 3-5-2 ‎formation that Conte deploys features wing backs and a pair of box-to-box midflelders looks likely to prove pivotal to Chelsea's forthcoming campaign with black midfielders Juan Cuadrado and N'Golo Kante in the new manager's plans.

Colombian Cu‎adrado, signed from Fiorentina during the January 2015 transfer window, made only four starts in 13 appearances for Chelsea before being loaned to Juventus.

Conte is adamant about Cuadrado, resting after his Copa America Centenario ‎campaign, returning to Chelsea and said on Saturday: "He's a Chelsea player, I'm waiting for him - he must come back very soon."

‎Kante, a £32m capture on Saturday from Premier League champions Leicester City, was a wanted man by Conte.

Conte explained: " Kante can give a lot to Chelsea, to enforce a zone which is very important if we want to play with two central midfielders."

But already Hector's future at Chelsea, before he has kicked a ball in a competitive fixture, appears to be under threat with a string of Italian-based centre halves apparently being touted by Conte.

Hector's rise to the highly level has taken time, having joined Reading in 2009 but loaned out to numerous non-league clubs as well as lower tier teams in the English League as well as a season-long loan at Aberdeen in the Scottish Premier League for the 2013-14 season.

A relative newcomer to the Reggae Boyz, called up for duty in February 2015 for friendlies against Cuba and Venezuela, he made his international debut in June 2015 in the 1-0 reversal to Uruguay in the Copa America.

Capped 17 times by the Boyz, Hector's presence is felt by the opposition and this term has a chance to shine for what will be his first season in the English Premier League.

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