Chelsea outcast claims he feels more ‘important’ playing for his country

Emerson, Kepa Arrizabalaga

Emerson Palmieri has admitted that his Chelsea career is not going to plan and that he feeld more “important” when playing for Italy.

Emerson has fallen down the pecking order at Stamford Bridge following the summer signing of Ben Chilwell from Leicester City. He also has to compete with Marcos Alonso for a spot in the team.

The 26-year-old has not played a single minute of Premier League football so far this season. Last year, he only started 13 top flight games.

There were plenty of rumours about a potential departure for Emerson over the summer. While he has fallen out of favour at Chelsea, he remains well thought of in Italy.

The former Roma full-back was reportedly a target for the likes of Inter Milan during the transfer window, but no exit materialised.

Despite his lack of action at club level, Emerson remains a regular fixture in the Italy national team. He started their UEFA Nations League draw with Poland after coming on in their friendly win over Moldova.

And Emerson has now admitted that he is much happier with his situation at international level than at club level.


Of his fortunes with the national team, Emerson said: “When I arrive here I change my head. I feel important and part of the group.

“At Chelsea, things are not going as I wish in this part of the season. I just have to work.”

While action at Chelsea has been hard to come by for the Brazilian-born defender, Emerson could be involved in a second game in the space of four days, with Italy due to play the Netherlands on Wednesday.

However, he is not concerned about the small gap between the games, claiming he is “ready” for the challenge.

He continued: “When you play for the national team, you always have to be ready.

“We are due to play three games in 10 days, when I knew I had to play I was happy but it came as no surprise.

“When I play with this shirt I have to give my best.”

Emerson proud to keep out Lewandowski

While he has been a fringe player during his time at Chelsea, Emerson sent a reminder of why the club paid more than £18m for his signature during Italy’s draw with Poland.

The left-back made a crucial challenge on Robert Lewandowski – the player many thought would have won the Ballon d’Or if this year’s award ceremony had gone ahead – to keep Italy’s clean sheet intact.

Emerson also created danger at the other end, having a penalty appeal waved away after being brought down in the box.

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And the Chelsea man explained how good it felt to make a telling contribution again.

He added: “We are defenders, when we face players of this level, that tackle was almost like a goal.

“I am also happy for the defensive department, it was very important to stop someone like Lewandowski.

“We did not concede any goals and we must give value to that. I couldn’t score, it’s part of the game but I think there was a penalty for me.

“The defender moved me a little bit and I tried to stand and shoot. I did not see the images, but my feeling is that it could have been a penalty.”

Emerson remains under contract at Stamford Bridge until 2022.

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