Scott Parker has told West London Sport that he has been pleased with the impact of former Chelsea man Ola Aina at Fulham.

Aina is another promising graduate from the Chelsea academy who was forced to cut his teeth elsewhere after opportunities in the first team fade out.

Having been educated at Cobham from the age of 11, he only played a handful of times for the seniors and was sent out on loan in 2017.

LONDON, ENGLAND – MAY 15: Ola Aina of Chelsea during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Watford at Stamford Bridge on May 15, 2017 in London, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill – AMA/Getty Images)

He joined Hull City then Torino respectively on a season-long basis, the Serie A side turning this move permanent in a deal worth €10m (Football Italia).

28th April 2019, Stadio Olimpico di Torino, Turin, Italy; Serie A football, Torino versus AC Milan; Ola Aina of Torino FC celebrates the victory for Torino at the end of the match (Photo by Pierpaolo Piciucco/Action Plus via Getty Images)

After making 69 appearances in Turin, Fulham decided to bring him back to the city he started his footballing career in for the 2020/21 campaign.

Parker was full of praise for the 24-year-old talent and believes Fulham has benefitted from Chelsea’s neglect.

“Chelsea’s loss? Yeah, definitely,” said The Whites boss to West London Sport.

“Chelsea have got a riches of quality at their disposal, but we’re pleased to have him (Aina) here.”

Aina has started Fulham’s last 18 games in all competitions, only missing the other five through injury. He has become integral to Parker’s plans after adjusting to life back in England.

Brentford v Fulham - Carabao Cup Fourth Round
BRENTFORD, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 01: Ola Aina of Fulham battles for possession with Said Benrahma of Brentford during the Carabao Cup fourth round match between Brentford and Fulham at Brentford Community Stadium on October 01, 2020 in Brentford, England. Football Stadiums around United Kingdom remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Andrew Couldridge – Pool/Getty Images)

“He came to us from Italy and when he first came in he probably struggled a little bit with the intensity of the training and what was asked of him,” confessed Parker.

 

“But we knew his quality from being a young player at Chelsea and I think everyone is seeing that now.”

Aina could well face his old teachers this weekend as Chelsea and Fulham do battle in the London derby.

Redemption may well be on the Nigerian internationals mind as he hopes to line up against the club who cut him loose.

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Although glad I am to see what Aina is achieving, I really hope he has a stinker this Saturday for Chelsea’s sake.

He has looked an astute acquisition by Parker, slotting in comfortably at right back or centre back.

Every player who performs well after they leave Stamford Bridge is met with regret, but it’s impossible to call how far they’ll climb.

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