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MCEACHRAN AND BERTRAND SIGN LONG-TERM
Posted on: Fri 15 Jul 2011

Two England Under 21 internationals have committed themselves to Chelsea. Josh McEachran has signed a new five-year contract and Ryan Bertrand a new four-year deal.

Both have come through the Academy at Chelsea and both made their first team debuts last season. McEachran progressed through the age groups from a very young age and was a member of the FA Youth Cup winning side in 2010.

His first team bow came as a substitute in an away Champions League win in Slovakia in September with his first league start the final home match of the 2010/11 season, at home to Newcastle. In total the 18-year-old midfielder made four starts and 13 sub appearances in the campaign and was awarded Chelsea's Young Player of the Year.

Bertrand, who turns 22 next month, joined Chelsea from Gillingham in July 2005 and after initially impressing in the Chelsea youth and reserve sides, he gained extensive first team experience on loan at a succession of clubs, including well over 100 appearances at Championship level at Norwich, Reading and Nottingham Forest.

The left-back played his one Chelsea game so far as a sub in a league game at home to Birmingham in April, when he crossed for Florent Malouda to score.

On signing for a five-year term, McEachran said: 'It is good to be offered this sort of contract. It is what I wished for when I was a kid and hopefully I will spend my career at Chelsea.

'I have wanted to do that since I was a kid, since I joined when I was eight years old. It will be good if I do but I need to keep working. This season my target is just to play more minutes. Hopefully I will play more games and keep improving.'

McEachran

Bertrand said about his four-year contract: 'It's a big commitment, I see the club going in the right direction. I want to stay here, it's the reason I came here six years ago and it's refreshing to have the new manager come in. I'm looking forward to listening and learning from him.

'I can see the manager is young and hungry and wants to take the club forward so I want to be part of that and I thought it was best for me to stay. Obviously Ashley [Cole] is number one left- back but hopefully I can get a game here and there.'

Being given first team minutes in front of the Stamford Bridge crowd last season was an important step according to the player.

'It gave me a lot of confidence that I can play for Chelsea and I'm aiming to get a few more games. I hope to stay here this season and hopefully catch the manager's eye.'

Both players will be part of Chelsea's imminent pre-season tour of Asia and it has been a busy summer for them. Although McEachran made his debut for England Under 21s last season, he was selected for the Under 19s for a qualification tournament in June.

'I played the first game and then I felt my hamstring a little,' he reports. 'I tried the second game but I couldn't really play so I came off at half-time. Unfortunately we didn't qualify which was a shame. Spain did instead and they are a good side at all levels.

'Then I had a holiday with my friends and came back training. I have spoken with the manager during training and he seems to be really good and I am enjoying working for him.

'It was good to play my first game back against Wycombe this week, good to get some touches of the ball and be back in match situations. I went away with the first team last pre season when we played in Germany for a few days but this will be the first tour when I go away for two weeks so it should be good.'

Bertrand was ever present in England Under 21s' European Championship campaign in June when they did not make it out of the group stage after conceding late goals to Czech Republic.

Bertrand

'It was disappointing but individually I think I performed okay,' he says.

'It was a shame because we had a really good team and did really well in qualifying for the tournament. We had a lot of fantastic players but it didn't happen unfortunately and it's one of those things that's annoying.

'After that I've had two weeks off, just relaxing with the family which was good. Now I'm back, I had my first day in on Thursday which was a bit of a blow but I feel alright. I feel better than I thought I would and am looking forward to getting back to full fitness.'

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