César Azpilicueta enjoying youth mentor role as captain
César Azpilicueta celebrates with Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount (photo credit: Chelsea Football Club/Getty Images)

César Azpilicueta enjoying youth mentor role as captain

The affectionately nicknamed "Dave" has been discussing the large influx of youth at Chelsea this season

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Jake Dance

Chelsea captain César Azpilicueta has been giving his thoughts on this season's more youthful Premier League squad.

Frank Lampard has been breaking records in the league this year, fielding two of the Blues' youngest ever sides in the competition. 

In an interview with Chelsea's website, long-serving defender Azpilicueta has discussed the introduction of so many academy graduates and what his role requires to help them as club captain.

"We have a lot of players coming through the Academy and it is a big responsibility and I enjoy the role," the Spanish international stated.

"I have had the chance to play a lot of games and win trophies so my responsibility is to help all of them, to get them into the team with confidence to show what they have shown in the Academy or with the loan spells where they were very successful.

"I am always ready to help them when they need it. They know I am here to help them but what I always had is the passion and the hunger to keep winning and it is something that we must never lose."

Lucky to learn

On the subject of youth, Azpilicueta also harked back at his own youth career - including his development of skills needed to be a captain.  "When I was young, at club level I was not involved in captaincy because I was always playing with the older players," the full-back explained.

"In youth teams I was two years ahead so there were people more experienced around me and then I made my debut for Osasuna at 17 years old. Then pretty quickly I moved to Marseille but at youth level in the national team I was captain in the U17s and in the U19s when we won the European Championship in 2007. I was the captain in the final.

"I was the captain of Spain U21s and I was one of the captains at the Olympics, so I have been involved in that kind of role and here in Chelsea when I arrived, I just grew up progressively and I knew I was sitting next to big, big players. I was lucky to learn from all of them and try to be myself and to give my best"

Showing your face

Azpilicueta now looks to pass on his experience and guidance to the young players coming through at Chelsea. The humble captain looks to do this whilst safeguarding and protecting them when necessary also, using his years of professional football as a lesson. 

One such instance is when speaking to media after a hard loss, a responsibility that the Blues defender admits isn't always easy. "It is hard," Azpilicueta confessed. "Sometimes you don’t want to be there because of the emotions or the feeling but I have the experience.

"I have this characteristic in myself that I always face reality. At times when not being captain I did it as well and now we have a younger team, sometimes you have to show your face and it is part of the job."

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