Conor Gallagher admits to sadness at Pochettino’s Chelsea exit

Conor Gallagher has admitted his sadness at Mauricio Pochettino’s departure as Chelsea boss but insisted he is not distracted by ongoing speculation surrounding his future.

Pochettino left Chelsea by mutual consent last month after a tumultuous trophy less season in which he faced calls from some fans to be sacked before rallying to a sixth-place finish by winning their last five Premier League matches.

Gallagher made 50 appearances across all competitions under Pochettino — more than any other player — and the midfielder reflected on the Argentine’s exit and Enzo Maresca’s appointment as his successor when speaking at England‘s Euro 2024 base on Thursday.

“Of course he has done so much for me so I was sad, sad for him and his coaching staff but really excited about the new manager coming in, and myself and everyone at Chelsea is really excited to work with him,” Gallagher said.

“I’ve really enjoyed it, when I’m playing football I am happy and I have been playing on a consistent basis this season so I just wanted to work as hard as possible to help Chelsea as much as I can and England when I played.

“A lot of credit to Pochettino for giving me that opportunity to show Chelsea what I could do in the last season, hopefully there is still room for improvement.

“He just showed his belief and trust in me which is all a player wants to be honest. If a manager shows you a bit of love, it makes you play better. Long story short, it gives you confidence and that’s what it gave me so I just build on that.”

Gallagher has a year remaining on his Chelsea contract and sources have told ESPN that Tottenham and Aston Villa are among the sides monitoring his situation.

It remains possible that Gallagher could sign a fresh deal to stay at Stamford Bridge and when asked whether he saw himself staying with Chelsea next season, the 24-year-old replied: “I’m a Chelsea player right now and I am just focused on England and the tournament.”

Gallagher is battling with Trent Alexander-Arnold to start England’s Group C opener against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen on Sunday alongside Declan Rice in Gareth Southgate’s 4-2-3-1 system.

“First of all Trent is a top player and everyone in the squad has their own strengths and the way they can improve the team and strengthen the team in their own way,” Gallagher, who was part of England’s squad for the 2022 World Cup but did not play a single minute, said.

“I will always be ready to start games if needed or come on from the bench. In Qatar I was kind of expected not to play in a way, I still loved the experience and was so honoured to be there but I never expected to come on or start games.

“It is a couple of years on and I’m in a different position, I’ve developed well as a player and I’m hoping I can help the team more on the pitch in this tournament and I’m really looking forward to it.”