Conor Gallagher has no plans of leaving Chelsea this transfer window, labelling the upcoming season as the season to make his breakthrough after support from Thomas Tuchel.
Gallagher is yet to make a Premier League appearance for boyhood club Chelsea, though he has impressed on his last two top-flight loan spells with West Brom and Crystal Palace.
The England international managed 11 goal involvements in the 2021-22 season with Palace, a tally bettered only by Wilfried Zaha (15) for Patrick Vieira’s side in the league.
With the upcoming Qatar World Cup in November, Gallagher understands the importance of regular first-team minutes in the 2022-23 season as he looks to make his mark at Stamford Bridge.
N’Golo Kante, Mateo Kovacic, Jorginho, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Billy Gilmour and Mason Mount are among his midfield competitors at Chelsea, but Gallagher expects to be in the running for the starting XI.
“I feel like this is the season,” he told reporters. “I’ve been a Chelsea fan my whole life, my family have, it’s been a dream to play [for Chelsea] but I want to try and impress, and play as much football as I can and affect the game when I’m on the pitch.
“[Tuchel] said he wants me to be part of the squad and to prove myself in pre-season, so that’s the plan. I’m happy with that and just willing to work as hard as I can to prove to him that I can play for Chelsea.
“It’s what I wanted to hear, it was a nice phone call that we had and it gave me a clear plan of pre-season and where I’m going to be. It was great to hear.”
Gallagher was quick to credit the influence of Vieira at Palace, expressing his gratitude for the efforts the coaching staff at Selhurst Park made to improve him.
Tuchel has added more international experience to his ranks, with England international Raheem Sterling joining Chelsea, and Gallagher hopes to improve alongside world-class players.
“Everyone wants to play as much as they can, but I’m willing to work as hard as I can to be on the pitch as much as possible,” Gallagher said.
“There’s world-class players in the squad and it’s obviously a tough team to get into, but I feel like if that challenge is there, I think I’d be a bit silly not to take it,” he added.
“With Chelsea being my club as well that I’ve supported, it’s very exciting.
“I’m very keen [to play at the World Cup] because every English player wants to play for England and in a World Cup would be very special. And of course, it’s very important that I’ll be playing games and performing.
“The call-up was a very proud moment, for sure. But it didn’t change the way I thought of myself or anything.
“It was nice to get that recognition and belief from the manager. It’s very important to stay humble and do everything you can to perform well.”
Mount was one of the first Chelsea players to welcome the arrival of Sterling on Wednesday, and Gallagher echoed his team-mate’s sentiments as he reflected on the experience the forward will bring to the side.
“I think it’s brilliant. It will only benefit Chelsea and himself,” Gallagher said of the Sterling signing.
“Everyone’s very excited for him to be playing and I know the fans are very excited as well. He’s a great professional, very relaxed off the pitch, and does the right things.
“I feel like the young lads feel like they can talk to him as well because he’s got a lot of experience in England and in the Premier League. So yeah, it’s a massive signing, and I’m sure he’s going to do his thing when he’s here.”