Chelsea starlet Conor Gallagher reveals what Gareth Southgate told him to do, to make the World Cup
CONOR GALLAGHER revealed Gareth Southgate told him regular football is his best chance to make England’s World Cup squad. Midfielder Gallagher has won four senior caps but was left out of Southgate’s Three Lions selection this month.
It came after the 22-year-old managed only 168 minutes of action for Chelsea this term. Gallagher was back with the Under-21s as a result but instead of sulking, he showed an exemplary attitude as he helped the Young Lions to a 2-0 friendly win over highly-rated Italy on Thursday. Afterwards he admitted making the plane to Qatar remains his ultimate goal and said chatting to Southgate helped clarify how he can achieve it. The ex-Crystal Palace loanee said:
“It would be amazing to make that squad. “Obviously you can say it was difficult that I wasn’t part of the squad in this camp. “But I took it on the chin. Gareth spoke to me and said what I need to do to give myself the best chance to get in the squad.
“It was the things that you would expect. Just, regular football, performing well consistently, those are the most important things. “I’m very happy and thankful that he said that. I’m going to work as hard as I can and try to impress him to give myself the biggest chance.”
Southgate has helped create a culture within the FA where players know how they conduct themselves on and off the pitch is valued highly. So the England boss will have been impressed with how Gallagher dealt with the setback of not being with the seniors by playing a key role for the Under-21s.
The former Charlton, Swansea and West Brom loanee won a penalty after just 66 seconds which Rhian Brewster dispatched. Gallagher’s interception then sparked the move that led to Brewster doubling the lead with only five minutes on the clock.
The Blues starlet added:
“It’s always an honour to play for England, whether that’s in the seniors or for the Under-21s. “The best thing for me is to show good attitude and to try to help the team as much as I can, to impress Gareth and Lee Carsley as well. “Thankfully I helped the team to a good win.
“Of course (having a good attitude) makes a difference and it looks good on paper. But I genuinely want to do well for the Under-21s and do well for Lee Carsley and help the Under-21 team as much as I can. “With England, I just want to try to impress the managers when I can in training and in games. I’ll always work my hardest to do so.”
Gallagher shone last season on loan at Palace, playing in a more advanced midfield position where he scored eight goals and grabbed three assists in the Premier League. It led to him gaining his big chance at boyhood club Chelsea. Yet Thomas Tuchel, when he did decide to play him, often deployed Gallagher in a deeper role. The Epsom lad did not help himself with a first-half sending-off in August’s 2-1 win over Leicester. Against the Italian Under-21s, Gallagher was back to playing in a more advanced midfield position and it seemed to suit him better. Now he has a new club manager in Graham Potter to impress, who is known for playing players in a number of positions. Gallagher added:
“I’ve been deeper and further forward, which is a good thing. I can play both roles, 6, 8 or 10. That helps me, in a sense. “I don’t mind where I play, as long as I’m playing, I’m quite happy. “I’m excited to play under (Potter). Wherever he wants me to play, I’ll play and give my best. “It’s been a tough start to the season. I’ve broken into the Chelsea first team. It’s a really exciting year for me. It’s started tough for the whole team. “But with a new manager it’s hopefully a fresh start and I can start playing a bit more regularly. That’s what my aim is.”
Potter left Brighton to take over at Chelsea earlier this month following Tuchel’s axing.