Antonio Conte has backed Ruben Loftus-Cheek to fill the role left by Oscar in his Chelsea plans. The Italian is yet to open his chequebook in the January transfer window, and says he will have "zero problem" giving game-time to youngsters like Loftus-Cheek and Michy Batshuayi during the remainder of the season.
Loftus-Cheek had been linked with a January loan move away from Chelsea after failing to feature in Conte's starting XIs during the first-part of the season, being restricted to just one appearance in the Premier League and a further three in the EFL Cup and the FA Cup.
West Ham and Newcastle were reportedly interested in his services, but Conte recently revealed he wanted the 20-year-old midfielder to stay at Chelsea following the departures of Oscar and Jon Obi Mikel to China.
Conte has used Loftus-Cheek in the recent wins over Peterborough United and Leicester City and has suggested that the young starlet will have the chance to fill the gap left by Oscar in the second part of the season.
"I trust all my players. Ruben is a player with great quality. Now I think after Oscar left he could have the right space to show me and the club his potential," Conte said, also backing Batshuayi to prove himself after the Belgium international also played a part in the last two wins.
"And also for Michy it's important to work this way, to show me they deserve to play. I have zero problem to play with young players."
Meanwhile, Conte was full of praise for N'Golo Kante. The France international has been a standout for Chelsea since his summer arrival from Leicester.
"I think N'Golo is for sure a really good player," Conte said. "He arrived at Chelsea and is playing very well. Don't forget, it's not easy when you change team. When you arrive in a great team where expectation is very high, sometimes the player can suffer the pressure and doesn't perform in the right way. N'Golo showed great personality and great quality. I'm pleased to have him in my squad."