Thomas Tuchel has challenged Conor Gallagher to prove he deserves a chance in the Chelsea side next season ahead of the Blues’ clash with West Brom.
Gallagher is rated as a promising talent at Stamford Bridge, but is yet to make his senior debut for the club. In order to gain experience, he has spent the 2020/21 campaign on loan with the struggling Baggies. He’s made 25 appearances in all competitions so far, both scoring and assisting twice. But he’ll have to settle for watching on from the sidelines this weekend as he is ineligible to play against his parent club.
Frank Lampard was still in charge when Gallagher made the temporary switch to the Hawthorns last September. Therefore, Tuchel has not yet had a chance to have a proper look at the 21-year-old.
But he has offered the midfielder hope of becoming a part his plans, with Tuchel revealing he has been pleased by what he has seen of him from afar.
“It’s not only my decision, but it’s his responsibility to show [he deserves a place] and this is what he does,” Tuchel said of Gallagher’s chances of featuring for the Blues in future (via the Metro).
“It’s not the moment to take decisions now for Connor, but I’m very aware he’s still our player. We have crucial weeks ahead of us now and for him in his mission at West Brom also.
“He fought his way through as a loan player which is very impressive. He never stops improving.”
‘Not the time’ to decide Chelsea future
Despite his praise, Tuchel also insisted a call on where Gallagher will be next season is yet to be made.
The German wants to work with him before opting to keep him or loan him out again. He also added that Chelsea do not want to distract Gallagher from his role at West Brom in their battle to beat the drop.
“He’s a very regular player for West Brom. I wish that he can stay totally focused on that,” Tuchel said.
“When it’s the right time to decide we will decide, but it’s clearly not now.”
Should Chelsea choose to loan him out again, it appears Gallagher may have a number of options on the table for 2021/22.
Leeds United retain an interest having reportedly eyed a swoop for him last summer. Crystal Palace have also identified him as a player who could form part of a new look midfield.
Sam Allardyce has made it clear he would like to keep Gallagher for another year. Although, he admits that is only likely if the Baggies stay in the Premier League.
Therefore, how they fare in their final nine games could have a big say on his next move. They currently sit 19th on the table and are 10 points off safety.