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Sep 5, 2012

Ryan Bertrand inks new deal

Chelsea fullback Ryan Bertrand signed a new five-year contract with the club on Wednesday.

Bertrand, 23, has impressed new manager Roberto Di Matteo since he took over from Andre Villas-Boas, and was a surprising starter in last season's Champions League victory -- the first player ever to make his debut in the final.

He was only a year into a four-year deal agreed last summer but has been rewarded for his remarkable progress in recent months.

The defender was part of the Great Britain Olympics squad and also made his full England debut in August's 2-1 friendly win over Italy.

Bertrand can also operate in midfield, and has been utilised in a left-wing position this season.

London-born Bertrand came through the club's youth academy and has enjoyed loan spells with Nottingham Forest and Reading before making his breakthrough into the Stamford Bridge first-team.

He has also started two of Chelsea's three Barclays Premier League games this season.

Prior to Roberto Di Matteo's appointment as manager in March, he barely figured for his parent club since making a controversial move from Gillingham seven years ago.

Gary Cahill believes international and club team-mate Bertrand is set for a massive future.

"I think people are just starting to sit up and realize how good a player he is from the couple of spells he had at the end of last year and to be thrown into the Champions League final and start.

"He has got a great reputation, especially at our club, and is going to have a massive future, that's for sure.''

Ashley Cole is the current first-choice left-back for both England and Chelsea, but with the former Arsenal man injured, Bertrand will battle it out with Leighton Baines to start against against Moldova in the opening World Cup qualifier on Friday.

"It only benefits him coming here with England and seeing the likes of Bainsey and obviously training with Ashley,'' Cahill said.

Cole's arrival as Chelsea's undisputed first-choice left-back saw Bertrand spend much of his early Stamford Bridge career out on loan.

He did not make his debut until April last year and there had been speculation he may be forced to leave in search of regular first-team football. But he is now very much seen as the heir apparent to Cole, whose own contract expires next summer.

He could also succeed Cole in the England set-up but will probably play second fiddle to Leighton Baines in Friday's opening World Cup qualifier in Moldova -- Cole has been ruled out of that match through injury.

Former England Under-21 star Bertrand's elevation to the senior squad by manager Roy Hodgson is a reward both for his Chelsea displays and those for Great Britain at the Olympics.

Reports say Bertrand, who has been deployed in midfield much of the time by Di Matteo, has earned a pay raise to £35,000 ($55,675) a week.

Information from Press Association was used in this report.

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