How Chelsea legends Didier Drogba and Jose Mourinho helped Preston North End new boy
Preston North End’s latest signing Izzy Brown might not have made the breakthrough at Chelsea but is thankful for the time he spent at Stamford Bridge.
The 24-year-old cut ties with the Blues this week when he joined PNE on a Bosman.
He only played once for Chelsea in his eight years there, that as a substitute in a Premier League game.
Brown was loaned out seven times and played against North End for three of his loan clubs.
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Chelsea signed him from West Bromwich Albion when he was a teenager and straight away he trained with their first-team squad.
Brown told the Lancashire Post: “I grew up supporting Chelsea and before I went to West Bromwich I could have signed for Chelsea.
“I decided to go to Albion but then Chelsea came back for me and I couldn’t say no.
“I signed for them and all of a sudden I was training with Didier Drogba and John Terry, players like that.
“After training Drogba used to show me how to take free-kicks, he was brilliant and always passing on good advice to me.
“Working under Jose Mourinho was unbelievable, he gave me a place in the dressing room among all those big names.
“He was the manager when I first went there, Jose was amazing with me.”
Brown’s loan spells were a bit of a mixed bag but he took something from them all.
He helped Huddersfield win promotion to the Premier League in 2017, then got games in the top flight with Brighton.
But it was at Brighton where he damaged his anterior cruciate ligament which slowed his progress,
Said Brown: “When you look at the loans, I’d say that Huddersfield was up there because we won the play-off final and went up into the Premier League.
“I really enjoyed the loan at Luton, my form was good and I played some of the best football of my career.
“For the last couple of years I probably knew it was time to leave Chelsea but it is hard to leave a club like that.
“I want to get settled now and have a club to call home, it’s hard when you move every season to a different club.
“Coming to Preston is a fresh start for me, this is the only club I have to think about.”
Meanwhile, North End have been drawn against Mansfield Town in the first round of the Carabao Cup.
They will travel to Field Mill – now called the One Call Stadium – in the week commencing August 9.
Last season, PNE beat the Stags 4-0 at Deepdale in the same stage of the competition.