Ryan Bertrand says he will quit Chelsea in the summer unless he can be sure of a regular starting spot under Jose Mourinho next season.
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“It’s flattering to hear what Jose Mourinho said but there’s no more waiting around for me in terms of wanting to be a Chelsea player,” Bertrand told the Birmingham Mail.
Bertrand, 24, joined the Blues as a teenager, but after struggling for first-team football at the club in recent years, he was forced to join Aston Villa on loan for the rest of the season in January.
The left-back is contracted to Chelsea until 2017, and Mourinho has recently stated that he has a future at Stamford Bridge.
However, Bertrand, who is behind Cesar Azpilicueta and Ashley Cole in the pecking order at the Blues, insists he is prepared to leave the club permanently this summer in search of regular game time if needs be.
“Come the summer I need to be the No.1 left-back, wherever that will be," he said. "I have ambitions but I have to be realistic as well. I will sit down and consider all my options.
“Staying here [at Villa] isn’t something I would rule out. I’ve had years of playing but since I was 17 I have been on loan, basically. I’ve spent the past few years at Chelsea, in and out of the team, and the experience I’ve gained from that is I’m happy just playing.
“That’s what it comes down to in football. If you’re getting the respect from your peers that you deserve, that means a lot.”
Bertrand, who has made eight appearances for Villa, was forced to sit out of their 1-0 victory against Chelsea earlier this month as he was ineligible to face his parent club.
“I was getting back to where I wanted to be but then I had that untimely little gap. The Manchester City game was called off and then I was unable to play against Chelsea,” he said.
“I want to play in every game but I can understand why the rule is in place. I don’t think your club and their fans would be too happy if you scored the winner against them.”