Carney Chukwuemeka insists it was a ‘dream come true’ to make his Chelsea debut in the Premier League win over Wolves and has revealed what Graham Potter told him before the highlight of his career so far.
Chelsea signed the 18-year-old midfielder from Aston Villa over the summer, spending £20m to bring the highly-rated starlet to Stamford Bridge.
Chukwuemeka has featured on Chelsea’s bench this season but had not made an appearance before he came on as a late substitute in Saturday’s 3-0 victory over struggling Wolves.
The England U20 star replaced Conor Gallagher in the 86th minute, receiving a superb reception from the Chelsea fans who had every right to be positive with the Blues already 2-0 up.
Armando Broja added a third late on with his first goal for Chelsea and Chukwuemeka was the first player to begin celebrating with a striker who has been at the club – as an academy star and then first-team player – for 13 years.
Asked how it felt to make his Chelsea debut, Chukwuemeka said: ‘It feels amazing. I’ve dreamed of playing for the club I supported growing up, so for it to happen is a dream come true.
‘I thank God, all my team-mates, my family and the Gaffer for trusting me. Hopefully it’s the first of many.
‘The Chelsea fans have been really supporting me since I joined the club and the reception from them today definitely gave me a boost.
‘Before coming on he [Potter] told me to express myself, to play how I have been in training and to play with a smile on myself. I think I did that so it was good.’
Chukwuemeka was one of a number of new signings to arrive at Stamford Bridge over the summer, with Chelsea owner Todd Boehly spending more than £250m on new recruits.
Given the spending spree, it came as a surprise when Boehly opted to sack Thomas Tuchel last month and replace the German with former Brighton boss Graham Potter.
But Potter has made an impressive start to his Chelsea tenure, winning three games in a row after drawing to Red Bull Salzburg in his first match in the dugout.
Having beaten AC Milan 3-0 during the week, Chelsea outclassed Wolves on Saturday to win by the same scoreline, with Kai Havertz, Christian Pulisic and Broja on target.
‘It’s a big boost to get another win and another clean sheet,’ Chukwuemeka added. ‘It’s something to build on now and hopefully we can achieve something this year and win a trophy.’
Speaking after his first Premier League home win as Chelsea boss, Potter said: ‘I’ve said from the start I’ve been impressed with how open, honest and responsible they are.
‘It’s difficult to keep the same XI with the schedule but there is an element of consistency to how we play. Really happy with the boys and how we’ve recovered. We go again on Tuesday.
‘Winning games helps so we look forward to the games, it’s about hard work, it’s being together, that stuff is important but the guys have been really impressive.’
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