Conor Gallagher once tried to hide from Thomas Tuchel in a pub – now he’s harassing the German to get into the Chelsea squad
CONOR GALLAGHER has overcome his shyness to convince Thomas Tuchel that he must be part of Chelsea’s plans this season.
The 22-year-old Blues youth fan has taken a calculated risk by staying at Stamford Bridge this season – and nothing convinces him otherwise.
In April, after being denied the chance to play for loan club Crystal Palace against Chelsea in the FA Cup semi-finals, Gallagher had an awkward encounter with boss Tuchel in a pub while having lunch with his girlfriend.
Midfielder Gallagher said: “I was trying to hide! It was funny because I saw him through the window and I whispered to my girlfriend, mom and dad, “God, it’s Thomas Tuchel coming in”. He came in and sat on the table right next to us so he wouldn’t miss me.
Tuchel said at the time: “I had the chance to speak to Conor, I could also see his frustration. We met in a restaurant and we talked. The subject came up. . . I am sorry because I know how competitive he is and I like him a lot.
“I know his character very well but that’s how it is. We play to win the game and the rules were clear when we gave the loan.
Yet after Gallagher’s incredible spell with the Eagles last season, which included a senior call-up to England, there was no need to hide.
At the end of the campaign, having scored eight league goals in 34 games, Gallagher decided to call Tuchel for a clear discussion on his future.
Gallagher said: “I told him first that I think I’m ready to play for Chelsea. I said you know that’s what I want to do.
“Managers are not scary. They want to know what your thoughts are and what you are thinking. I told him what I thought and he said what he thought. It was the best way.
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“I was just being honest. He expected it after the loan to Palace.
Tuchel has told Gallagher he is in his first-team plans for next season.
It’s a risk that could backfire if he were benched, with like Mason Mount, Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante ahead of him.
Gallagher, who has yet to make a senior appearance for Chelsea, said: “You can say it’s a gamble, but I feel like I’m ready for a step in my career. If there’s a chance to be part of the Chelsea team and the team, I can’t turn it down – I have to take up this challenge and see what happens.
“There are a lot of world-class midfielders in the team, so I know I have to prove myself.
“If you deserve to play, then you will play, age doesn’t matter. I know it doesn’t make any difference for Thomas Tuchel here.
“I’ve always said I wanted to play for Chelsea because it’s the team I love and have seen grow up.”