Antonio Conte is hoping that Andreas Christensen can follow the same path as John Terry and go on to become a Chelsea legend.
Terry was considered one of the great centre-backs of his generation and led Chelsea to five Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, one Europa League and one Champions League title in his two decades at the club.
After Terry departed the club, Christensen has established himself in the first team at Chelsea having taken David Luiz's place in recent weeks. In fact, he's started in all seven games since he was picked ahead of Luiz for the Manchester United game in November.
Conte thinks that he sets the standard for the youngsters coming through the academy and he has leadership potential for the future, as he follows in Terry's footsteps.
“This is a big comparison. Also, don't forget, John Terry wrote the history of this club and won a lot," Conte said at Cobham Training Centre. "I think he has the right characteristics to play for this club for many years, to become an important player for this team, for this club.
Then I hope and I wish Christensen to have the same career as John. I wish this for him. This is my best wish for him. His performance were amazing. Every time I decided to give him the opportunity to play, he played with an amazing performance.
"These performances convinced me that Christensen has to play with regularity. Christensen is maybe the best surprise from the start of this season, despite his young age. I think that, for us, he's been the best surprise: for me, the club, his team-mates, the fans.
“Yeah, yeah. It's not simple to see this composure, this calmness in a young player. Don't forget, he played big games with great calm and great focus and concentration. We must be happy because, I think, Chelsea found a player who can have the same career as some of the best defenders here, in my opinion.
"I hope that Christensen helps me to make sure that happens. He's a serious person, always committed in training sessions. He doesn't speak a lot. He prefers facts to words. All characteristics... I can predict for him a fantastic career.”
He is set for new contract talks in the near future as his value for Chelsea has risen with only two-and-a-half years left on his current deal. Conte thinks that Christensen is happy to remain at Stamford Bridge after getting the game time he needs to take his footballing abilities to the next level.
“Yes, I think this situation is for the club. My task is to improve the players during training sessions, to improve the players in every moment when he stays with us, on or off the pitch. But, for a new contract? This situation is for the club to face and find the right solution.
"But the player is very happy to stay with us and play with this regularity. I think that, maybe, the expectation wasn't so optimistic. To arrive in a great team like Chelsea and play every game, every game. But he did. I'm a coach and, if you deserve to play, I don't care if you are only 21 or 17 years old.
"My first game in my career was when I was 16 years old in Serie A with Lecce. I think I'm the first person to be open to give these opportunities if, I repeat, you deserve it. Not just because you're a young player. But you must deserve to play; have the right commitment and attitude in training.
"Yes, for sure [he could be a future captain]. When you start to play in a great club like Chelsea, for sure, the future is yours.”
Christensen's next appearance in senior football will be his 120th across his time at Chelsea, Borussia Monchengladbach and his national team, Denmark.