Ola Aina Torino

Torino loan a step towards Premier League future, says Chelsea youngster Aina

It is not easy to quantify the development of Chelsea's loanees, but Ola Aina has already surpassed his six appearances for the Premier League side with eight on loan at Torino in Serie A.

The move to Il Toro came in the summer after a season in the Championship with Hull City, where he enjoyed 4,003 minutes on the pitch - more than any of the Blues' other 38 loanees.

Nigeria call ups followed and, although he was cut from the preliminary World Cup squad by Gernot Rohr, he is hoping that Torino will provide him a platform to become an established international as well as earn him a chance back in the Premier League with Chelsea.

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"It is a step up. Playing top flight football offers me different challenges," Aina told Goal . "It has helped me to become a better player and my development, just all the things that I have learned abroad in Italy, I am bringing what I have learned here into the national side and I hope it will pay off in the long run.

"The players are really established and experienced so it was good to come up against that calibre of footballer. It will just make me better. I am working on the tactical side, positioning, staying concentrated and just being able to effect the game higher up the pitch as well.

"I have played both left and right whenever I am called upon. I don't think it is a problem and I enjoy it as well. Chelsea agreed it would be good for my development to focus on the tactical side.

"I have just been talking to Chelsea, I know they would keep tabs on me. I know they are watching and paying attention to me. I think that it could be my final loan move [before playing in the Premier League].

"It is my aim for my career to play in the Premier League, I don't know when but I think this is a step that's going to help me to get there. Hopefully it helps."

Ola Aina quote

Eddie Newton is the Chelsea loan coach who is monitoring and feeding back to Aina as he develops at the Turin club. Aina is also replicating his close friend Nathaniel Chalobah by making a move to Italy, after seeing the England debutant spend a season with Napoli a few years ago.

Aina credits former Napoli and Watford boss Walter Mazzarri for convincing him to join Torino amid interest from an unnamed Bundesliga club.

"It wasn't that he promised me game time as such," Aina explained. "We have a lot of players who are good so everyone is fighting for a position. He was just telling me that he can develop me, that I am a good player but that he can make me better on the tactical side of the game.

"That's something I think I need at this point in my career. It was really appealing to me and it was a really positive discussion. I had a few options. I chose Italy and Torino because I am a little bit more familiar with Italy because I like to go every year on holiday. It was just more appealing to me to work with their coaches really.

"Mazzarri was eager to get me on board and help me with the different aspects of my game. He just really wanted to work with me so it was an easy decision for me to go there. Even just in my first game I was up against the likes of [Daniele] De Rossi, [Stephan] El Shaarawy. [Edin] Dzeko and [Aleksandar] Kolarov, all these top players that have had really good careers so far.

"The first game [against Roma] was a bit difficult because of the language, but as the games have gone on I have learned the language a little bit. It was a good game but unfortunately we lost 1-0. But it was a really good game for me.

"It is getting easier for me to communicate with the players on the pitch. The game time is helping me, obviously. Every time I play I am developing and learning."

Ola Aina Quote

The move to Torino sees Aina playing alongside their talismanic striker Andrea Belotti, who has frequently been linked with moves to a host of bigger clubs. Aina says that his side's captain remains a key player, as he credits the dressing room as a whole for helping him to develop in his first matches in Italy.

"He is a good guy, he works hard for the team and he obviously scores a lot of goals so he is a key player for us," he continued.

"He is our captain. He leads by example, he may not talk a lot on the pitch but his football does a lot of the leading and he is really good for the team.

"I would say they all helped me. The language thing is hard so they have really tried to help me and teach me a few words I need to know on the pitch.

"Some of them speak English so they have tried to adapt to me also. It is really good, they helped me a lot."