Andreas Christensen has hailed David Luiz as the new John Terry in the dressing room at Chelsea, despite replacing the Brazilian in Antonio Conte’s starting line up this season.
Speaking ahead of Wednesday night’s clash with Bournemouth at the Stamford Bridge, the Dane praised his defensive teammate and compared the 30-year-old to the club’s former captain, now playing in the second division with Aston Villa.
His final campaign came last season as he became a more peripheral figure in the squad as the Blues lifted the Premier League for a fifth time; their sixth English topflight title overall.
Only Manchester United have been more successful than Chelsea since the top division was relaunched in 1992 and no other club has so far managed to defend their crown during the Premier League era. The Blues successfully retained the title in 2006 under Jose Mourinho.
Conte has struggled to keep his team ahead of their rivals a year on from his successful first season at Stamford Bridge but has enjoyed other marks of success and progress, most notably the return of Christensen from his two-year loan spell with Borussia Monchengladbach in Germany.
He has emerged as a key player for the Italian this season, and has often been preferred to Luiz as the pivotal centre-most defender in the back three – a position that requires great intelligence, composure, skill and confidence, not to mention an expansive passing range.
The 21-year-old has been a natural in the role, but he credits his Brazilian colleague for helping him to make such a smooth transition after spending two seasons away in the German Bundesliga.
“David makes it easy for everyone, that’s just the way he is,” he told ESPN FC. “He’s a little bit like JT. I remember one of my first visits [to Chelsea] and David was here. I wanted to take a picture with him and he did this weird face to the camera. He’s just the same now.
“Coming into the team [as a young player] he’s a little bit like JT — you just feel his vibe and he wants to succeed as well. He’s made it a lot easier to come back from the loan spell and come into the team.
“Having met him and been in the squad with him before, and then come back, he wants the best for the club, for everyone in it, and you can feel that every day.”
Yet Christensen feels no guilt or regret over making the most of his opportunities this season, sometimes at the expense of his friend and mentor.
“No. You don’t think about that stuff,” he said. “I go into every game trying to perform so he can’t get his place back, and he tries to perform like he wants to play as well. You don’t think about that. You just try to perform every time.”
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