CHRIS Mepham insisted he would be ready to be thrown in at the deep end against Chelsea’s star-studded attacking line-up.

The 21-year-old could on Wednesday make his Cherries debut against Maurizio Sarri’s side at Vitality Stadium (7.45pm) after last week joining the Dorset club from Brentford.

If the centre-back were to feature against the Blues, it would complete a remarkable rise from academy reject to the Premier League.

In 2012, the Hammersmith-born talent was released from Chelsea’s youth set-up. He bounced back from unsuccessful trials at Watford and Queens Park Rangers to earn a scholarship with Brentford at the age of 16, having been spotted playing for North Greenford reserves.

In the same year, Eden Hazard picked up the Professional Footballers’ Association young-player-of-the-year prize in his second season at Stamford Bridge.

Blues centre-back David Luiz completed a £50million transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, a world-record fee for a defender at the time.

Across London, Olivier Giroud helped Arsenal win the FA Cup and in Italy, Sarri’s latest signing Gonzalo Higuain led Napoli to their fifth Coppa Italia.

Asked by the Daily Echo if he believed he could thrive against Chelsea’s big names, Mepham said: “I definitely would.

“I look forward to the opportunity but you might have to ask me that question again after playing them. I want to come up against these players every week and that is why I joined.

“I have been thrown in at the deep end a few times in my career.

“I did not have the best of full debuts for Brentford (against Norwich in 2017) but then came on as a substitute the following Tuesday against Derby because one of the lads got injured.

“And with Wales I made my first start in front of 80,000 fans against Mexico.

“I would like to think I have done well when I have been thrown in but we will wait and see.”

Mepham joined Chelsea’s academy at the age of 10 and was watched on several occasions by club legend John Terry.

However, the experience ended in disappointment.

Reflecting on his time with Chelsea, Mepham said: “The set-up was amazing, going to Cobham every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday with a game on Sunday.

“When I was 14 and it was coming towards the time I got released, I had been getting less and less game time and there were people ahead of me playing regularly.

“I could see it coming. They brought me into a meeting and were dead honest with me.

“They said ‘you have developed really well for us but if we signed you for another year or two you would not get any game time’.

“I have a lot to thank them for because I developed so much in my time there. There are no hard feelings from me.”