Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo left Stamford Bridge after playing a key backroom role for a decade, but had some parting words of praise for Andreas Christensen, who is likely to face Ireland with Denmark on Saturday.

The 52-year-old former Nigeria international has been one of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich's key lieutenants, overseeing player and manager recruitment during a turbulent period during which he worked with 10 head coaches.

Relations had been strained between Emenalo, director Marina Granovskaia and manager Antonio Conte, who made clear his unhappiness at the club's failure to sign top-level players in the last transfer window.

Chelsea have been criticised in the past for their policy of signing up young and promising players before sending them out of loan for extended periods.

However Emenalo pointed to the success of Christensen, who impressed for Chelsea in their 1-0 victory over Manchester United at the weekend as proof that this system was working.

Christensen spent two years on loan with Borussia Monchengladbach before returning to Chelsea in the summer and he was a more than able deputy for David Luiz against United, who was dropped by Conte.

Speaking to the Evening Standard, Emenalo said: "Andreas, unbeknown to him, gave me a wonderful parting gift yesterday because his performance is indicative of what development is all about.

"Development equals humility, hard work and timing and Andreas has done all three.

"He’s shown great humility to go on loan and work very hard while he was there and gain the experience which is needed, and the timing is right for him now to step in and show what he’s learnt during those periods of development."

Live coverage of Denmark v Ireland on RTÉ Two (7.25pm), live radio commentary on RTÉ Radio One's Saturday Sport and live blog on RTÉ.ie from 6pm.