Gianfranco Zola heaps praise on Chelsea teenager Nathaniel Chalobah, currently on loan at Watford

Chalobah is on loan at Watford until January

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Watford boss Gianfranco Zola is predicting great things for Chelsea teenager Nathaniel Chalobah, currently on loan at Vicarage Road.

The Italian gave Chalobah his first professional start in Saturday's 2-2 draw with Bristol City and was impressed by the versatile 17-year-old, who started in midfield before switching to defence.

"I thought for 25 minutes, or 30 minutes, he was quite outstanding," Zola told the Watford Observer.

"His performance was really top class and he played well when he also went to the back.

"He is a player that if he maintains the right attitude and keeps working and focusing on learning then he could really become an important player. He can go as high as he wants to."

Zola, who enjoyed seven successful years at Chelsea, said the only barrier to Chalobah's future success was if he started to believe his own hype and took his foot off the pedal.

He added: "The common mistake for players of his age, when they play and are having compliments like I am giving him right now, is to stop learning.

"He has all the qualities to become a top player but he just needs to work hard every day and not lose the desire to work hard in training.

"It is too early; he has the potential but he has to really keep his feet on the ground and work hard."