Cesar Azpilicueta was full of praise for Chelsea teammate Reece James as he spoke about the healthy competition for spots between them.
The Chelsea captain has not made any Premier League appearance since the win over Brentford in October, having made only had three Champions League appearances in that period.
James’ impressive form is far from being the main reason, but it might have had an impact.
Azpilicueta is virtually only fighting for the right centre-back spot the likes of Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah are also vying for.
The Spain international, however, said that he is happy for James despite his losing his spot in the team.
Competition is ‘natural’ at Chelsea
“I’ve known Reece for a long time since he was in the academy, and I saw his potential,” the 32-year-old told The Sun.
“He went to Wigan on loan, he did amazing. He came back, and he was an important player already, playing in the first team.
“He has been scoring goals, giving assists, with a great level of confidence. I’m pleased for him — he’s a great talent.
“I always try to help him in any way I can.
“I think it’s natural when you play in Chelsea, at the moment the best team in Europe and always fighting for trophies.
“You have competition, players coming in, new players coming through the academy.
“I’ve always had this healthy competition with players and always try to give my best.
“In the end, it’s just the manager who makes the decisions.”
Azpilicueta is among the four Chelsea defenders whose contracts expire at the end of the season.
Italian transfer expert Fabrizio Romano recently claimed that Chelsea are confident that the right-back will sign a new deal, despite interest from Barcelona.