Kalidou Koulibaly given John Terry’s iconic Chelsea shirt number for pre-season
Posted by  badge Boss on Jul 20
Kalidou Koulibaly is in line to make his Chelsea debut against Charlotte (Picture: Getty)

New signing Kalidou Koulibaly will wear ’s iconic No.26 shirt during the remainder of his club’s fixtures.

The former Napoli centre-half flew to America last week to complete the formalities of his eagerly anticipated transfer from the Serie A club and is in contention to make his non-competitive debut against Charlotte this evening.

Terry’s old number has been out of action since his departure at the end of the 2016/17 season but Koulibaly, who wore the same number during his time at Napoli, will have it on his back this evening.

Chelsea confirmed, however, that it could only be a temporary measure while also revealing that Raheem Sterling will wear No.17 for the remainder of the tour.

Conor Gallagher, meanwhile, who spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace, has been given the No.15 shirt while he battles to convince Thomas Tuchel he is worthy of a regular first team spot ahead of the upcoming Premier League season.

Chelsea fans may have to wait a little longer to get a glimpse of Koulibaly in action with Tuchel confessing he was torn over whether or not to give the experienced Senegal international a first outing against the MLS side.

Asked if he’ll play in Chelsea’s friendly, he said: ‘Yeah, we’re a bit torn and I have to speak to him what we’ll do tomorrow.

Raheem Sterling is fit and ready to make his Chelsea debut against Charlotte (Picture: Getty)

‘He’s done some training sessions now with us but he’s still on a very individual programme, so no double sessions on the pitch.

‘He trains with the team but if course as you can imagine there are players who are in their third week of preparation who have a completely different level of physical foundation and that is not a good match for him to play straight away.

‘I don’t want to rule it out completely but it’s very likely that he maybe will not play tomorrow.

‘I’m happy because he’s a calm guy. You can see his quality in the pitch, his leadership. He has a certain personality that you feel when he’s there and this is good for us.’

On Sterling’s likely participation, he added: ‘Raheem is absolutely ready to go tomorrow. He will be on the pitch tomorrow and I am happy about that and he is excited to play his first match.’

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