Steve Cooper opens up about why Chelsea loanee Andrey Santos has missed out on game-time
The teenage joined the Blues in the last winter window from Brazilian side Vasco da Gama for £17.5million, with the club snatching him up despite a plethora of interest from rival clubs.
In the summer, Chelsea deemed that the best cause of action would be a loan move away, especially with the arrivals of teammates Moises Caicedo and Romeo Lavia over the summer. With the likes of Enzo Fernandez and Conor Gallagher already in the setup, it was thought that game-time would be hard to come by.
They agreed a deal to move the 19-year-old to Nottingham Forest on loan in a bid to earn minutes on the pitch, but that hasn’t worked out as planned.
Santos is yet to start a game in the Premier League since his loan spell began in August - he played just seven minutes a 3-0 defeat against Liverpool in October. Now Cooper has provided the reason why he has left Santos on the bench.
What did Steve Cooper say about Andrey Santos?
He said via Football.London: "I’m not too sure about what’s been said. Of course everyone would have liked Andrey to play more. He is a really good young player, but there isn’t a load of players his age who are playing regularly in the Premier League.
"It is the sort of situation where if he was our player, he would be in the perfect situation of being in and around the first-team, looking to involve him and giving him some exposure when you can, but knowing you are developing him and getting him ready.
"The context to it is he isn’t our player, he is Chelsea’s, and that probably just adds a few question marks to the situation, which I understand. I take individual youth development personally. It means a lot to me because of my background and where I spent a lot of my coaching years. That will be no different with Andrey.
"In terms of the training programme, yes, game time has been very minimal. But I think the question has come up because we’re not his parent club. But he’s a fine young player with a bright future. I really hope that whatever happens – even if he hasn’t had much game time up to now – he can take some positive experience from it.
"We are certainly committing to our everyday work with him, as we do with every player and particularly the young ones because of the stage of the journey they are on. I repeat, not many players his age are playing loads of minutes in the Premier League.
"When they’re not quite getting that, you have to make sure the development programme is right, which is what we are committing to even though he is owned by Chelsea."