Gianfranco Zola tips Chelsea loanee Nathaniel Chalobah to reach the top ... if he keeps his feet on the ground

Watford Observer: Picture: Holly Cant Picture: Holly Cant

Gianfranco Zola believes Chelsea loanee Nathaniel Chalobah can play at the highest level but has stressed the youngster needs to maintain his desire to improve if that is to happen.

Chalobah is just 17 years old but has been part of Chelsea's pre-season squad in the last two years and travelled with the team for their Champions League win in May.

The midfielder, who can also play in defence, is England Under-19 captain and impressed during his first professional start on Saturday, when Watford drew 2-2 with Bristol City.

Chalobah excelled in holding midfield during the first half and whilst he found it harder as part of a back three following the break, Chelsea legend Zola praised the rising star's performance.

Zola said: "I thought for 25 minutes, or 30 minutes, he was quite outstanding. His performance was really top class and he played well when he also went to the back.

"He is a player that if he maintains the right attitude and keeps working and focussing on learning then he could really become an important player."

The term highly-rated is often over-used but when it comes to Chalobah that is not the case.

Chalobah, who was born in Sierra Leone, has played for older age groups for much of his life and captained not only the Chelsea Under-18s to FA Youth glory this year, but is England Under-19 skipper and also captained the Reserves on several occasions last season.

He signed his first professional contract, a two-and-a-half year deal, in January following his 17th birthday and has been an unused substitute in the past.

Zola knows a few things about playing at the highest level, and particularly for Chelsea, and when asked how far Chalobah can go, Zola replied: "He can go as high as he wants to.

"He has all the qualities to become a top player but he just needs to work hard every day and not lose the desire to work hard in training.

"The common mistake for players of his age, when they play and are having compliments like I am giving him right now, is to stop learning.

"It is too early; he has the potential but he has to really keep his feet on the ground and work hard."

Comments (12)

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7:14pm Tue 25 Sep 12

tgb1963 says...

I remember watching John Barnes for the first time and being blown away. I had the same feeling watching Chalobah when he came on against Brighton. Shame he's not ours. Let's hope we can extend his loan in January.
I remember watching John Barnes for the first time and being blown away. I had the same feeling watching Chalobah when he came on against Brighton. Shame he's not ours. Let's hope we can extend his loan in January. tgb1963

7:31pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Bobbyhowfield says...

People moan about having players on loan , but when you get a chance to watch a player with such natural ability play in a Watford shirt , it is extremely exciting.
People moan about having players on loan , but when you get a chance to watch a player with such natural ability play in a Watford shirt , it is extremely exciting. Bobbyhowfield

8:13pm Tue 25 Sep 12

goldanboy says...

Can't believe he's only 17...and English. Unfortunately it's what's wrong with the Premiership, young players with great talent and destined to play in our English team, fade away into obscurity, unable to get in the first team. He plays in that typical Chelsea holding role, that the club seems to have had abundance of players playing over the years. I love a player who never looks at the ball when he recieves it. Quality player who I hope we get all season.
Can't believe he's only 17...and English. Unfortunately it's what's wrong with the Premiership, young players with great talent and destined to play in our English team, fade away into obscurity, unable to get in the first team. He plays in that typical Chelsea holding role, that the club seems to have had abundance of players playing over the years. I love a player who never looks at the ball when he recieves it. Quality player who I hope we get all season. goldanboy

8:45pm Tue 25 Sep 12

Holly68 says...

He was superb 1st half holding midfield Saturday, Chelsea believe he is a potential 1st teamer next season, he had lots of loan offers but GFZ relationship with RDM convinced him to come to Watford. He spoke after the game Saturday when receiving the MoM award and then you realised just how young he is. Keep his feet on ground and a future England Star.
He was superb 1st half holding midfield Saturday, Chelsea believe he is a potential 1st teamer next season, he had lots of loan offers but GFZ relationship with RDM convinced him to come to Watford. He spoke after the game Saturday when receiving the MoM award and then you realised just how young he is. Keep his feet on ground and a future England Star. Holly68

10:15pm Tue 25 Sep 12

mullenswfc says...

Was head and shoulders above the rest in the first half on Saturday. Such confidence and composure on the ball, giving orders to players a lot older than him. Natural talent and leader. Very bright future. Hopefully can stay for the whole season
Was head and shoulders above the rest in the first half on Saturday. Such confidence and composure on the ball, giving orders to players a lot older than him. Natural talent and leader. Very bright future. Hopefully can stay for the whole season mullenswfc

11:29pm Tue 25 Sep 12

micksolly says...

He looks a great talent and was superb in the first half on Saturday, it was a shame he was switched to defence. Planning to go Saturday be interesting to see how he copes away from home against a team who have started well in this league...you orns
He looks a great talent and was superb in the first half on Saturday, it was a shame he was switched to defence. Planning to go Saturday be interesting to see how he copes away from home against a team who have started well in this league...you orns micksolly

11:14am Wed 26 Sep 12

Oxhey Frankie says...

If he is so good why the **** did he move back to defence on Saturday. We totally lost our way after that ! Bad decision by Zola me thinks.
If he is so good why the **** did he move back to defence on Saturday. We totally lost our way after that ! Bad decision by Zola me thinks. Oxhey Frankie

11:46am Wed 26 Sep 12

Hornet Cornet says...

A Poem About Boothroyd Visiting South Africa But Not Quite Meeting Up With SA Hornet.

Along came Boothroyd,
He said ‘kick it long’,
Marlon didn’t like this,
And stole his Billtong.

Boofers got angry,
He got sacked one happy day,
He hopped on an SAA flight,
Then taxi’d to Jeffreys Bay.

He went off to Pretoria,
To Sun City as well,
He managed their Sunday league team,
Their team could never gel.

So he went off to Soweto,
A place where it never snows,
His head got so masive,
It couldn’t fit through the doors.

I Thank You

HC
A Poem About Boothroyd Visiting South Africa But Not Quite Meeting Up With SA Hornet. Along came Boothroyd, He said ‘kick it long’, Marlon didn’t like this, And stole his Billtong. Boofers got angry, He got sacked one happy day, He hopped on an SAA flight, Then taxi’d to Jeffreys Bay. He went off to Pretoria, To Sun City as well, He managed their Sunday league team, Their team could never gel. So he went off to Soweto, A place where it never snows, His head got so masive, It couldn’t fit through the doors. I Thank You HC Hornet Cornet

12:02pm Wed 26 Sep 12

AngelHornet says...

Keep him in the team as a holding midfielder only. He will develop as will our team
Keep him in the team as a holding midfielder only. He will develop as will our team AngelHornet

3:15pm Wed 26 Sep 12

SAHornet says...

Hornet Cornet wrote:
A Poem About Boothroyd Visiting South Africa But Not Quite Meeting Up With SA Hornet.

Along came Boothroyd,
He said ‘kick it long’,
Marlon didn’t like this,
And stole his Billtong.

Boofers got angry,
He got sacked one happy day,
He hopped on an SAA flight,
Then taxi’d to Jeffreys Bay.

He went off to Pretoria,
To Sun City as well,
He managed their Sunday league team,
Their team could never gel.

So he went off to Soweto,
A place where it never snows,
His head got so masive,
It couldn’t fit through the doors.

I Thank You

HC
Where do you get your inspiration and what do you know of Jeffreys Bay? Don't get too excited, I still think your poems suck da big one !
[quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: A Poem About Boothroyd Visiting South Africa But Not Quite Meeting Up With SA Hornet. Along came Boothroyd, He said ‘kick it long’, Marlon didn’t like this, And stole his Billtong. Boofers got angry, He got sacked one happy day, He hopped on an SAA flight, Then taxi’d to Jeffreys Bay. He went off to Pretoria, To Sun City as well, He managed their Sunday league team, Their team could never gel. So he went off to Soweto, A place where it never snows, His head got so masive, It couldn’t fit through the doors. I Thank You HC[/p][/quote]Where do you get your inspiration and what do you know of Jeffreys Bay? Don't get too excited, I still think your poems suck da big one ! SAHornet

3:33pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Travelling Hornet says...

If we can play like we did in the first halves on Tuesday and Saturday, for the whole match then we could hold on to even the smallest of leads , as the opposition would not be able to get the ball off us.
If we can play like we did in the first halves on Tuesday and Saturday, for the whole match then we could hold on to even the smallest of leads , as the opposition would not be able to get the ball off us. Travelling Hornet

4:50pm Wed 26 Sep 12

Hornet Cornet says...

SAHornet wrote:
Hornet Cornet wrote: A Poem About Boothroyd Visiting South Africa But Not Quite Meeting Up With SA Hornet. Along came Boothroyd, He said ‘kick it long’, Marlon didn’t like this, And stole his Billtong. Boofers got angry, He got sacked one happy day, He hopped on an SAA flight, Then taxi’d to Jeffreys Bay. He went off to Pretoria, To Sun City as well, He managed their Sunday league team, Their team could never gel. So he went off to Soweto, A place where it never snows, His head got so masive, It couldn’t fit through the doors. I Thank You HC
Where do you get your inspiration and what do you know of Jeffreys Bay? Don't get too excited, I still think your poems suck da big one !
Ah well my inspiration comes from .. I don't know where to be honest. As for Jeffrey's Bay, I've done a bit of SA myself you know. Love it out there.

And I can tell you like my poetry. My next poem may have something to do with Chapmans Peak in it.

Ta

HC
[quote][p][bold]SAHornet[/bold] wrote: [quote][p][bold]Hornet Cornet[/bold] wrote: A Poem About Boothroyd Visiting South Africa But Not Quite Meeting Up With SA Hornet. Along came Boothroyd, He said ‘kick it long’, Marlon didn’t like this, And stole his Billtong. Boofers got angry, He got sacked one happy day, He hopped on an SAA flight, Then taxi’d to Jeffreys Bay. He went off to Pretoria, To Sun City as well, He managed their Sunday league team, Their team could never gel. So he went off to Soweto, A place where it never snows, His head got so masive, It couldn’t fit through the doors. I Thank You HC[/p][/quote]Where do you get your inspiration and what do you know of Jeffreys Bay? Don't get too excited, I still think your poems suck da big one ![/p][/quote]Ah well my inspiration comes from .. I don't know where to be honest. As for Jeffrey's Bay, I've done a bit of SA myself you know. Love it out there. And I can tell you like my poetry. My next poem may have something to do with Chapmans Peak in it. Ta HC Hornet Cornet

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