says that youngster Ian Maatsen is in his plans for the upcoming campaign after impressing in .
Maatsen first joined Chelsea five years ago but has made just one appearance for the senior side – a 24 minute cameo in a 2019 Carabao Cup win.
With just one year left on his contract, many expected the Dutchman to be sold this summer as part of the Blues’ huge clear out, but .
He has started all three of the club’s pre-season friendlies, bagging a brace in the and beautifully assisting for the opener in the 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Thursday.
More remarkably, Maatsen has started each game as part of the forward line, playing on the right wing against the Magpies, despite left-back being his natural position.
The 21-year-old has been used almost exclusively as a defender throughout his career which has included loan spells at Charlton, Coventry and Burnley.
With the latter, he won the Championship title last season, scoring four and assisting six in 39 games from defence.
‘I am so happy with him so far,’ Pochettino said in his post-match press conference following the Newcastle draw.
‘He is a player that can play in different positions. His quality, his understanding of the game, he is a clever player.
‘So far he is in my plans. I am so pleased with him, I told you before, I am so pleased because he is a player whose attitude, commitment and understanding of the game, we can use in different positions.
‘That is a good thing for the team and for a coach. It is good to have this type of player.’
Pochettino further hinted that Maatsen will be used in a forward position more often given how much depth Chelsea have at left-back through Ben Chilwell, Marc Cucurella and Lewis Hall.
He added: ‘All of the players start from zero. It’s about competing for this position. We have four players that play the same position.
‘That is the balance we were talking about before. We need to add players as maybe in another position we miss some players and in that position we have four and sometimes the squad is unbalanced.
‘We need to build a balanced squad to have the possibility to compete for a position but not have players who are going to be the third or fourth option to play and it is going to be impossible for one position, for four players to play for one place.’
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