Denis Zakaria has moved himself into Graham Potter’s good books for constantly putting in the miles in training.

Speaking to the club media, Potter announced his admiration for the Juventus loanee’s dedication on the Cobham pitches.

Zakaria has little choice but to graft more than most in front of the Blues boss.

He landed in London on deadline-day from Turin whilst Thomas Tuchel was still at the helm.

Photo by Harriet Lander – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

Tuchel never selected the Switzerland international before he was sacked by Todd Boehly at the beginning of September.

Potter’s introduction at Stamford Bridge meant every member of the squad had to prove themselves again to a new manager.

But without any meaningful minutes under his belt, Zakaria had less of a profile to impress the coach with.

This was telling up until last week, as the 25-year-old failed to feature in any of Potter’s first nine games in charge.

“Dennis is a good example of the process and sometimes it doesn’t go your way and how you react and how you take responsibility for your own actions,” said the Blues boss.

Zakaria rewarded with first Chelsea start

His patience finally paid off at home to Dinamo Zagreb in the Champions League.

Not to waste his Chelsea debut, Zakaria scored after 30 minutes that ultimately sealed the victory for his side.

Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

“I think he’s been supportive of the team. He’s been training really well, training hard so the when he got his opportunity he was ready. He could play, he could perform,” continued Potter.

“We were all really happy for him when he scored and he could help the team win.”

Zakaria’s delightful evening ended on a slightly sour note, as he was forced off with 20 minutes remaining due to a minor injury.

He was thankfully available for the follow up fixture, but could only watch on from the bench as Chelsea whimpered to a 1-0 defeat against Arsenal.

Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.