Cape Town - Chelsea defender Kurt Zouma is
delighted to have broken in to the Chelsea first-team after returning to
Stamford Bridge from a a two-year loan spell.
The 24-year-old central defender joined the Blues on a
five-and-a-half-year contract for a fee believed to be around £12
million in January 2014, but was allowed to stay at Saint-Etienne on
loan for the remainder of the season.
Zouma made his first competitive appearance for Chelsea, scoring the
opener in a 2–1 win against Bolton in the third round of the League Cup
in September 2014 but only featured 26 times in all competitions.
He worked his way into the first team on a regular basis in 2015-16
and picked up a first cap for France, only to suffer a ruptured anterior
cruciate ligament in his right knee in February 2016 and spent nine
months on the sidelines.
Zouma made just 13 appearances in 2016-17 and was then sent on loan
to Stoke City and Everton respectively for the past two seasons.
He featured in 32 of Everton’s league games last term and it looked
likely that he would be making a return to Goodison Park during the
summer transfer window.
But with new boss Lampard unable to bring any new faces into Stamford
Bridge because of their transfer ban, he made a surprise decision to
offload David Luiz to London rivals Arsenal on deadline day earlier this
As a result Zouma has stepped into the void and featured in Lampard’s
first three games in charge as Chelsea lost 4-0 at Manchester United,
lost the Uefa Super Cup on penalties against Liverpool and were held to a
1-1 draw against Leicester.
Despite a slow start, Zouma is delighted to be featuring in the
starting XI and he is hoping to help bring success to the Lampard reign.
"I am here. Everything is done now," he said. "I have to do my job here and I am happy to be here.
"I just want to work hard and play. That’s what I’m trying to do and
the most important thing is the team. We need to start winning games.
"I’m not surprised (to be in the team) because that’s what I wanted. I came here and wanted to play.
"I am in a big club and everyone here wants to play. The competition
is very hard and you can see in the squad, there are a lot of talented
players so when you train, you have to do it right.
"That’s what I am trying to do and that’s what I am working hard for."