Amongst all the misery of England’s World Cup exit, there might be one Chelsea player who felt slightly detached from the disappointment.

Whilst Mason Mount and Raheem Sterling slumped to the surface at the full-time whistle on Saturday, their club colleague could only sink deeper into his seat on the bench.

Conor Gallagher must’ve got rather used to watching his compatriots from the dugout in Qatar.

The 22-year-old did not accumulate a single minute at the tournament, one of only six from the 26-man squad not to feature at all.

England v France: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022
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Back-up goalkeepers Nick Pope and Aaron Ramsdale understandably had to step aside for Jordan Pickford.

Conor Coady could not displace the defensive duo of Harry Maguire and John Stones.

James Maddison was clearly not deemed fit enough to make an appearance, whilst Ben White left the England camp early due to personal reasons.

But Gallagher was something of an anomaly.

Conor Gallagher misses World Cup action

Out of the half dozen players overlooked by Gareth Southgate, the young midfielder arguably had the best case to play some part.

He could’ve easily replicated the energy Mount or Jordan Henderson offered to the side, with the similar bonus of being a goal threat.

International experience clearly helped Henderson earn a spot in the XI, whilst Mount has been a favourite of Southgate for some time.

Yet, the England manager clearly rates Gallagher, otherwise he would’ve never taken him to the World Cup in the first place.

England World Cup 2022 Training Session
Photo by Eddie Keogh – The FA/The FA via Getty Images

If Southgate remains in the job, the number of caps for the Chelsea academy graduate should increase over time.

Potentially a big plus for Graham Potter

For now, Gallagher can only rue at what could’ve been at the World Cup.

Graham Potter might not hold as much regret for his player’s non-existent performances at the tournament, however.

Potter will be welcoming back those members of the first-team who jetted off to Qatar back in waves ahead of the resumption of domestic football.

Each one will return with varying degrees of fitness, depending how far they went in the competition.

Although England reached the quarter-final, Gallagher didn’t kick a ball competitively, meaning he should be fresher than even those who were eliminated in the early rounds.

Newcastle United v Chelsea FC - Premier League
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This can only be seen as a bonus for Chelsea, as they will need everyone available to be at maximum capacity for a huge second-half to the season.

With N’Golo Kante side-lined, Ruben Loftus-Cheek overcoming an injury and Mateo Kovacic still at the World Cup, Potter’s midfield options are relatively limited.

In this case, Gallagher might just have a huge role to fulfil for the Blues between now and the end of the campaign.

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