France U21 manager Thierry Henry has said that he is concerned by Lesley Ugochukwu’s (19) lack of gametime since his summer move to Chelsea.
Since his move from Stade Rennais, he has played 140 Premier League minutes and his last start came in a 0-0 draw against Bournemouth in mid-September. He has, however, started all three of Chelsea’s League Cup victories this season, the latest coming against Blackburn at the start of November.
Ugochuwku was one of two players for whom Henry voiced concern during a press conference on Thursday, the other being Olympique Lyonnais’ Johann Lepenant (21) is the other. The former SC Caen midfielder was not even included in the matchday squad as Fabio Grosso’s side registered their first victory of the Ligue 1 campaign.
Henry on Ugochukwu – ‘I hope he can continue to keep on course physically.’
“Johann’s situation is increasingly worrying,” began Henry, in a press conference, transcribed by L’Équipe. “For us, he continues to be more than good and we’ll continue to help him on a physical level whilst he’s on international duty, but it’s up to him and his entourage to solve the problem with Lyon.”
On Ugochukwu, he added, “The problem is the same with Lesley, even if the situation is different at Chelsea because in front of him there are players like Enzo Fernandez and Moises Caicedo. But he’s not playing, and nowadays, these players don’t even play with the reserve side to keep their rhythm. At the start of the season, you can benefit from the physical conditioning of the pre-season but the benefits fade and I hope he can continue to keep on course physically.” France U21s face Austria and South Korea during this international break.
GFFN | Luke Entwistle