Kurt Zouma has opened up on his development at Chelsea and the influence of summer signing Thiago Silva at Stamford Bridge.
Zouma’s future at the west London side had appeared uncertain after struggling to establish himself in recent seasons, though the centre-back has since become a trusted figure for Frank Lampard this season after forming a fine partnership with the experienced Silva.
The France international arrived at the club as a teenager and has since had loan spells at both Stoke and Everton, whilst the defender’s progress was also hindered by a long-term knee injury.
Zouma’s impressive performances this season have been a major boost to Chelsea and have seen him shine as an undisputed first choice, starting 15 league fixtures for the Blues and scoring four goals.
The 26-year-old has opened up on his development and believes he has improved in ‘every aspect’ of his game since arriving into English football, outlining the work he has put in to become a valuable member of the Chelsea first team.
“When I arrived I was very young, just 19, and coming to a new country, so I was learning everything,” he told the Chelsea website. “As a man I grew up, I had children. Now I am getting more experienced; when I look around and see the young guys in the team you can say I’m almost old now!
“I have developed in every aspect, even mentally. I have learned to deal with things when they are going well and when they are going not so well. I have learned the work you need to put in every day, the time you have to spend in the gym.
“I think I have improved my game too, tactically and physically, and now I am even scoring some goals, hopefully it keeps going like that.”
Zouma’s partnership with Thiago Silva has helped Chelsea improve defensively this season, and the Frenchman has opened up on his rapport with the Brazil international following his free transfer arrival from Paris Saint-Germain.
“He’s a very calm guy,” he said. “He has got experience.
“He knows the game very well. He has won a lot of trophies. His positioning is always good defensively when we don’t have the ball, and with the ball he can find passes.
“He is also a leader in the team, so there are many things to learn off him.”