Tuchel: ‘Intelligent’ Chelsea star has found his ‘place’ in the team

The Danish international has played in every minute of his six Premier League starts this season, as well as starting each of the defending European champions’ three Champions League outings thus far.

Despite some fierce competition for places in Tuchel’s squad, the 25-year-old is looking increasingly assured at Stamford Bridge and recently scored his first goal for the club against Malmo in Europe.

Speaking ahead of Tuesday night’s Carabao Cup meeting at home to Southampton, the Chelsea boss talked of the defender’s qualities and backed Christensen to improve even further.

“He’s a calm guy, very intelligent player, and sometimes you can get maybe a bit misled by judging him from his personality, because he is a hard defender and he is a guy who is not shy to have hard tackles and win challenges and step up in games,” said the German.

“He found his place. He is very strong, very reliable and he has not reached his limits because at his age there is still room to improve.

“He can be a top defender for us in the next years and hopefully he will be because he comes from the academy.

“He knows what it takes and he has improved massively so far but it is not done yet – you have to show it over and over. There are big examples in this club of what it takes to be a legend in defence and there is still a way to go but we are very happy so far.”

While there is little to suggest either Thiago Silva or Cesar Azpilicueta are slowing down, the pair are 36 and 32 years old respectively, so would unlikely be the profile of player to build around in the future.

With that in mind, as well as Antonio Rudiger’s contractual status, perhaps Christensen can make himself the long-term lynchpin of the Chelsea defence should the club be able to extend his deal, which is currently due to expire next summer.

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