Chelsea’s JT succession plans feature Burnley and Boro men

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Despite being linked to umpteen Italian or simply Serie A-based centre-halves this summer, Chelsea manager Antonio Conte appears to value the Britishness of his captain very much.

John Terry has been a bastion of the Blues defence since the turn of the century, and it was only correct that the 35-year-old have his long stay extended by another season at the end of 2015/16.

Given his years, though, it’s abundantly clear that JT’s playing days at Stamford Bridge are numbered and the latest speculation over his potential replacement shows Conte will not be overlooking English talent.

While this is excellent news for Chelsea, the rumour mill’s Friday morning offerings don’t make quite as pleasant ready for Burnley or Middlesbrough fans.

The Mail Online claims that Clarets centre-half Michael Keane and Boro counterpart Ben Gibson are the present frontrunners on Conte’s list of JT replacements.

The cynics would say that interest in Keane and Gibson has chiefly been sparked because the London club are very conscious of the needs to meet Premier League regulations regarding home-grown players.

There is undoubtedly something in this. However, both are looking like excellent prospects for club and country.

The pair of 23-year-olds have begun the new top-flight seasons as first-choice centre-backs and played every minute of the first three games.

Both are regulars for an England U21 team on the cusp of qualifying comfortably for the next major tournament and potentially brighter lights beckon at some point as a result.

Whether or not said lights are those of the capital and Stamford Bridge remain to be seen.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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