‘He can play a role’; Tuchel backs loan star’s return amid doubts over Chelsea future

Wilfried Zaha, Conor Gallagher, Crystal Palace, April 2022.

Thomas Tuchel is confident Conor Gallagher could return to make a contribution to the Chelsea side next season but knows he might want to play elsewhere.

Gallagher, 22, has been at Chelsea since 2008, spending 11 years in the youth setup before graduating to the first-team squad. He has penned two contracts with the senior squad to date. But the Epsom-born midfielder has yet to kick a ball for the Blues outside of the Under-18s and Under-23s.

He was farmed out to Charlton Athletic, Swansea and West Brom before joining Crystal Palace on a season-long loan for 2021-2022. And it has been a breakthrough season for the talented schemer.

He has impressed with the Eagles and also been capped three times by England. The youngster has enjoyed 27 Premier League starts for Palace, scoring eight goals and assisting three.

And his all-round play has caught the eye, with manager Patrick Vieira full of praise for his on-loan star. Chelsea host Palace in the FA Cup semi-finals on Sunday but Gallagher will play no part.

He has been blocked from facing his parent club. It remains to be seen what happens next season.

Tuchel feels the starlet is good enough to make an impact at Stamford Bridge. But the German knows there are many variables to overcome before his name appears on the Chelsea team sheet.

“I believe that Conor can be a part of our squad and can play a role with us but I’m not the only one to decide,” he told the club’s website.

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“We need to speak after the season with everybody and we need to see what Conor wants. We need to see what the situation is, what role we have for him. And what he can fight for because you need something to fight for.”

Gallagher gutted to miss Chelsea clash

Having been with the West Londoners since the age of eight, there is no question Gallagher wants to make it at Chelsea.

Facing them in the prestigious cup competition would have been the perfect platform to impress.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel

And Tuchel admitted how sorry he was that Palace’s request to let Gallagher face Chelsea had been denied.

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