Koulibaly given John Terry’s iconic Chelsea shirt number for pre-season

New Chelsea signing Kalidou Koulibaly will now wear John Terry’s iconic No.26 shirt during the remainder of his club’s pre-season games.

The former Napoli defender flew to America last week to complete the formalities of his anticipated transfer from the Serie A club and is in contention to make his debut against Charlotte this evening.




Terry’s old number has been out of action since his exit at the end of the 2016/17 campaign but Koulibaly, who wore the same number during his time at Napoli, will have it on his back this evening.

Chelsea confirmed, however, that it could only be a temporary measure while also revealing that Sterling will wear No.17 for the rest of the tour.




Conor Gallagher, meanwhile, who spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace, has been given the No.15 shirt while he battles to convince Tuchel he is worthy of a regular first team spot ahead of the upcoming Premier League campaign.

Chelsea fans may have to wait a little longer to get a glimpse of Koulibaly in action with Tuchel admitting he was torn over whether or not to give the Senegal international a first outing against the MLS team.

Asked if he’ll play in Chelsea’s friendly game, he said: ‘Yeah, we’re a bit torn and I have to speak to him what we’ll do tomorrow.

‘He’s done some training sessions now with us but he’s still on a very individual programme, so no double sessions on the pitch.




‘He trains with the team but if course as you can imagine there are players who are in their third week of preparation who have a completely different level of physical foundation and that is not a good match for him to play straight away.

‘I don’t want to rule it out completely but it’s very likely that he maybe will not play tomorrow.

‘I’m happy because he’s a calm guy. You can see his quality in the pitch, his leadership. He has a certain personality that you feel when he’s there and this is good for us.’

On Sterling’s participation, he added: ‘Raheem is absolutely ready to go tomorrow. He will be on the pitch tomorrow and I am happy about that and he is excited to play his first match.’

JB

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