Clear message: Noni Madueke sends Pochettino new subtle three-word Chelsea message with possible manager dig

Very clear: Madueke sends Pochettino new subtle three-word Chelsea message with possible manager dig

Chelsea’s Noni Madueke has praised the current England Under-21 squad, saying they could be even better than last year’s European champions – and reserved extra praise for coach Lee Carsley.

The winger, who played a crucial part in last summer’s victory, believes the team has more potential this time around and could benefit once again from having ‘winner’ Carsley in the dugout, who Madueke names as one of the best coaches he’s ever worked with.

It’s a quote that could be perceived as a subtle message to Chelsea and Mauricio Pochettino, who has so far failed to deliver at Stamford Bridge. The FA Cup remains the Blues’ last chance to win silverware this season.

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Madueke has been impressed by Kobbie Mainoo, who was called up by Gareth Southgate due to fitness issues with senior midfielders. As the Young Lions prepare to face Azerbaijan on Friday, manager Lee Carsley has plenty of talent to choose from.

Among them are Madueke’s Chelsea teammate Carney Chukwuemeka, Bournemouth’s Alex Scott, Hull City’s Jaden Philogene, and Liverpool’s Jarell Quansah, who has been earning praise for his performances alongside Virgil van Dijk.

“Our team last year peaked at the perfect time – going into the Euros we peaked,” Madueke said. “If you asked any of those boys, all of them will tell you that they saw us going to the final.

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“That was definitely a thing that was spoken about. But in this team, the talent level might be higher. Talent isn’t everything but I feel like the ability of the boys might be higher. There is still a long way to go but if we take the appropriate steps then the sky is the limit.

“[We’ve got] so many goals, so much creation. It’s a really good team. We won the Euros last year and I think this team has the potential to surpass it.

“[Carsley]’s an elite coach, a top human being. He’s a winner. There is nobody better suited to the job. I’ve had some coaches and he’s right up there with the best in terms of player development and human qualities, which are so important. Boys come over here and feel like they have that support. Even when I’m not here he supports me.”

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