Nathaniel Chalobah insists Napoli loan move helped him 'grow' up' ahead of Chelsea first-team breakthrough

SAM LONG
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Nathaniel Chalobah says a loan move to Napoli helped him to "grow up" ahead of his breakthrough season at Chelsea.

Chalobah joined Chelsea as a youngster in 2005 but struggled to bridge the gap between promising youth prospect and the first-team fold in west London.

The 22-year-old spent time on loan at Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley and Reading in an attempt to prove his worth before embarking on a temporary switch to Serie A last term.

Chalobah only played a handful of games during his time at the Stadio San Paolo but he is convinced it proved to be a turning point in his development and has called on more Englishman to play abroad.

"More English players should go abroad," he told the Sun. "It's really tough.

"You will want to come home after the first two weeks - but I think a lot more players should try it.

"For me, it was an amazing experience. I learned a new language and went into a changing room where I was out of my comfort zone a bit.

"I had to deal with a different culture and adapt to being on my own without my family and friends around me.

"It made me grow up. It was such a positive thing," he added.

Chalobah has come of age under Antonio Conte this season, having made 13 senior appearance under the Italian coach, whose side are on course to win the Premier League title.

The midfielder has just 15 months left on his current Chelsea contract but Standard Sport understands Chalobah will be rewarded with an extension, having finally forced his way into the senior set up.

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