Premier League • England

Next Chelsea manager urged to make cut-throat decision as soon as he walks through the door

Reece James, Conor Gallagher

Chelsea have been told to switch captains for next season

Former Chelsea midfielder Emmanuel Petit has urged whoever takes over from Mauricio Pochettino at Stamford Bridge to make a ruthless decision as soon he gets his feet under the table.

Pochettino parted company with the Blues by mutual consent on Tuesday despite finishing the season strongly with five successive Premier League victories to his name.

Attention has now switched to who will replace the Argentine, with Kieran McKenna, Roberto De Zerbi, Enzo Maresca and Ruben Amorim all in the running for the Chelsea job.

However, Petit thinks the next man at the helm needs to make a big decision immediately and strip Reece James of the captaincy.

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The Blues academy graduate was named captain ahead of the 2023/24 season but only ended up making 11 appearances in all competitions due to a string of injury issues.

And Petit feels James has played ‘nowhere near enough’ over the last two seasons to warrant leading the side due to his alarming injury concerns.

The Frenchman is of the opinion that Conor Gallagher should take that honour full-time, having been the stand-in skipper this season. That’s despite the fact that the England midfielder continues to be linked with a summer exit.

“We all know James is such a great player and we’re always crossing our fingers that he plays as much as possible,” Petit told BoyleSports.

“However, how much has he played in the last two years? It’s nowhere near enough.

“You cannot be the captain when you miss the majority of games – it reminds me of Abou Diaby at Arsenal when you could just never rely on him due to his unfortunate injuries.

“Conor Gallagher should be the club captain, it certainly needs to be considered by the new manager. Gallagher is a symbol on the pitch and plays every game so it has to be him.”

James sends heartfelt message to Pochettino

Meanwhile, James, who was left out of England’s provisional Euro 2024 squad earlier in the week, has apologised to Pochettino following his surprise Chelsea exit.

“Thank you for everything boss,” he posted on Instagram. “We had an amazing relationship from the moment we met.

“I never played as much as I would have hoped under you, which I am sorry for but also something I couldn’t control.

“You believed in me and gave me a huge responsibility when many others doubted me. Thank you all and good luck in the future!”

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Pochettino is now being heavily linked with the Manchester United job, if the Red Devils decide to part ways with Erik ten Hag this summer.