Chelsea's forgotten man ends 130-day wait to solve Pochettino's transfer issue

130 days, a different head coach and a whole host of different teammates. It's been quite some time since Carney Chukwuemeka was chosen from the start for Chelsea in a Premier League game.

It's been a long time coming for the 19-year-old but Thursday evening finally saw him given a much-needed opportunity away at Manchester United. After being withdrawn from the England Under-20s squad for their World Cup campaign because his club needed him, he absolutely needed this chance.

And, despite it being overshadowed by yet another defeat for Chelsea, he did take it. The teenager was instantly involved, playing on the right-hand side of a midfield three, where he shot just over the crossbar with a fine effort from outside of the box.

Chukwuemeka was seeing a lot of the ball at the edge of the box for Chelsea as they looked to penetrate behind United. His footwork is exceptional and you could see that on the night and he - and his partner on the right-hand side, Noni Madueke - often looked like the one who was going to do something for the Blues in attack.

There were also two driving runs in the first-half that showed the power and confidence he has in his game. On 35 minutes, he drove forward with the ball, with nobody getting anywhere near him, but he had no options in blue and nothing came of it. Something very similar happened shortly after but this time he found his teammate on the right side after galloping through the middle of the pitch at Old Trafford.

It was a really impressive 45-minute cameo from Chukwuemeka. However, it would be overshadowed by Man United doubling their lead just before half-time, completely against the run of play, with Anthony Martial tapping in from a Jadon Sancho pass across goal.

In the first-half, Chukwuemeka completed more successful attacking third passes (16/18) than any other player for either side. He also had a 100% record with his take-ons (2/2), long balls (1/1) and ground duel battles (5/5).

In the second period, he was a lot quieter, but in fairness his team were so much worse. Chelsea were unable to keep the ball and play some semi-decent football like they did in the first-half and this of course had an impact on Chukwuemeka.

He was brought off on shortly before the end of the match, but on a personal note he should be pleased he got some much-needed game-time and he impressed at stages. Chelsea are considering loaning Chukwuemeka out next season, but from what we saw - particularly in the first-half - against Man United, there could well be a place for him in Mauricio Pochettino's plans.

Mason Mount looks set to leave with each passing day with Manchester United now understood to be the front-runners for his signature. If he is to leave, then Pochettino might not need to look too far to find a direct replacement for him.

Chukwuemeka is very-highly rated at the club with senior officials understood to still have big plans for him in the future despite the consideration of loaning him next season. He is someone who they see as one for the future, alongside a number of players in the current squad.

Hopefully the teenager gets the chance to shine against Newcastle United on the last game of the season on Sunday. Then, who knows: he could have a big role to play under Pochettino next season.

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