Mauricio Pochettino has admitted he’s absolutely delighted with Chelsea youngster Ian Maatsen during pre-season.

It’s been a fabulous summer so far for Ian Maatsen, 21, who’s emerged as the surprise package in the Chelsea squad.

The Blues left-back really earned his stripes with a fantastic loan spell at Burnley last year, but we doubt anybody would’ve predicted how his pre-season has gone this summer.

He’s started three consecutive friendly matches to begin Pochettino’s reign as head coach. More importantly, the rising star has been playing out of position and still looking like the real deal.

Chelsea Pre-Season Training Session
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

After impressing as a left-winger in Chelsea’s wins against Wrexham and Brighton, Maatsen started Thursday’s 1-1 draw with Newcastle United on the right wing.

Pochettino was full of praise for the Blues wide man after the Newcastle result:

“I am so happy with him (Maatsen). He’s a player that can player in different positions. He understands the game. He is such a clever player,” Pochettino said, as quoted by Ben Jacobs on Twitter.

In addition, Chelsea’s manager shared in his post-match comments that Maatsen is in his thoughts for the upcoming 2023/24 season.

“So far he is in my plan,” Pochettino said about Maatsen, as quoted by Nizaar Kinsella on Twitter.

Chelsea Pre-Season Training Session
Photo by Darren Walsh/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

It’s another big tick by Maatsen’s name after his latest pre-season effort against Newcastle, proving yet again he’s a serious versatile option when it comes to the wide positions.

The Athletic recently claimed that Chelsea could complete a U-turn to keep Maatsen and bin plans to sell him.

Pochettino has now confirmed the Dutch speedster is in his plans, too.

We’re certainly intrigued to see whether his pre-season role further up the pitch is a temporary thing or a more long-term vision.

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