Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran spoke of his desire to match the recent achievements of Arsenal starlet Jack Wilshere and intends to use his example as inspiration to power his own elevation into Andre Villas-Boas' first XI.
Speaking to reporters ahead of Chelsea’s Asia Trophy final against Aston Villa, McEachran said: “We’ve got similar abilities but Jack’s a year or so ahead of me.
“I’m happy with the progress he’s been making. I always keep an eye on what he’s doing: Bolton [on loan], coming back to Arsenal and playing for England.
“Jack’s one of the best young players in the world, so he’s done really well. Hopefully I can do what he’s done, to be honest.”
With a long-term injury to Michael Essien leaving a gap in the Blues’ central midfield for the coming season, McEachran could soon be handed his chance.
Despite his original role as a more technical, attacking player it would seem that the youngster could follow in Wilshere’s footsteps at Arsenal and move into a deeper, holding position, something new Chelsea manager Villas-Boas has already considered.
“I spoke to Josh regarding where he felt best on the pitch,” the coach explained. “The position No. 6 [holding midfielder] is very important and he touches the ball more in that position.
“He likes to progress from that position, but he likes to face play, see attacking options, and it’s good to test him as a No. 8 further forward. He can fulfil both positions, the No. 10 position as well. Josh will be involved as a No. 8 again, organising the game from that position.”
McEachran looks set to start for Chelsea in the climactic match of their Asian Tour against Aston Villa, but the academy product is well aware that he may have to look elsewhere, albeit temporarily, for first team football this season.
He continued: “Chelsea have kept me grounded; it’s my first proper pre-season in the club, and it’s been good to come to Thailand, Malaysia and Hong Kong.
“I just want to get more minutes this year, whether it’s out or loan or not.
“Obviously I’d love those to be at Chelsea. It’s not really up to me, but it’s up to Andre. If he thinks I’m ready to play for Chelsea, I’ll stay. If he thinks I need to go out on loan, I’ll do that.”