Chelsea's Danish defender Andreas Christensen is enjoying life having qualified for the World Cup with Denmark and also having broken into the Chelsea first team thanks to his spell on loan in the Bundesliga.
Andreas Christensen has pinpointed a successful two-year loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach as the key factor behind his emergence as a first-team player for Chelsea this season.
The 21-year-old Denmark international returned to Stamford Bridge in the summer after his stint in the Bundesliga and has established himself as an increasingly important member of Antonio Conte’s squad.
Chelsea’s loan policy has come under scrutiny in recent years with few players managing to cement a spot in the club’s first team despite impressing while out on loan.
However, Christensen has bucked that particular trend this season, making 12 appearances in all competitions, and he believes that spending an additional year in Monchengladbach was particularly important to his development.
“For me personally, it was the two biggest years of my career. If it went badly I might not be here now, but because it did I am here, feeling confident and in a good spot,” Christensen told Sky Sports.
“The experience of playing in the Champions League and at the top level for two years every week helped me a lot.
“Both for the club and for me personally, the plan was always to come back into the first team.
“Doing two years was important. It wasn’t just one year where you can go and might not get into the team straight away and you end up playing just some of the games.
“In the first season I learned about the club a bit more and then in the second I started the whole season and became an important player. I was lucky that it went so well and I got two full seasons out of it.”
Given the success that Christensen has enjoyed since returning to the club, he has been earmarked as a role model for Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Tammy Abraham to follow next season.
Both Loftus-Cheek and Abraham have caught the eye in the Premier League this season for Crystal Palace and Swansea respectively, and have become senior England internationals over the past week.
Conte even stated that they are the “future of Chelsea” in his pre-match press conference ahead of the club’s game against West Brom on Saturday.
However, while Christensen may be an example to loan players that they can eventually make it at Chelsea, he stressed that every player’s situation is different and that the important thing for loanees is to develop in their own way.
“It’s different for every player,” he stated. “I was in the right place at the right time, everything just clicked and it was perfect for me.
“That’s the most important thing for the players that go out on loan. They have to find what’s working for them and the perfect environment for them to develop.”
Christensen also revealed that he stayed in regular contact with his parent club while he was at Gladbach, making regular visits back to London to watch the team play and talk to his team-mates.
“When I was on loan I took the opportunity to come back to London sometimes to watch the games and go into the dressing room after so everyone knew what was happening with my career which was a good feeling,” he said.
Catch the full Soccer Saturday interview with Andreas Christensen on Sky Sports News ahead of Chelsea’s match at West Brom at 3pm.