Carlo Ancelotti has put his faith in Jeffrey Bruma to help lift Chelsea further out of their end-of-year slump after confirming the teenager will make his full Premier League debut in Sunday's clash with Aston Villa.
Blues boss Ancelotti has turned to Bruma, 19, to fill the void left by Branislav Ivanovic, who is suspended after foolishly picking up his fifth yellow card of the campaign against Bolton in the final match before the mid-season amnesty.
Despite having made only eight first-team appearances and just two starts since joining Chelsea from Feyenoord in 2007, Bruma has been preferred to Paulo Ferreira for the champions' first match of 2011.
Right-back Ferreira played as a makeshift centre-half when John Terry and Alex were injured for November's game with Sunderland, but the move backfired spectacularly as Chelsea were crushed 3-0, their biggest home defeat since 2002.
Ancelotti is clearly unwilling to risk a repeat against Villa, with his players' confidence still fragile after Wednesday's ugly 1-0 win over Bolton ended the Blues' worst league run for 11 years.
And while Bruma may be a rookie, he is highly rated by both club and country, making his full Netherlands debut against Ukraine this summer and recently signing a new four-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
"It is the time that we can use Bruma," Ancelotti told Chelsea TV. "He is a young player who is a very good defender. He has a lot of ability, he has played some games and, in this time, he is improving.
"He works very closely with John Terry, Ivanovic and Alex and it is the time to put him in. I am sure that he will do his best."
Bruma has already started in both the Carling Cup and Champions League this season and Ancelotti has backed captain Terry to guide him through his full Premier League debut.
"For Bruma, it will be fantastic support to have Terry alongside," he said. "He trained very well, he knows how he has to move but, with John Terry, it will be easier to move."
Chelsea will once again be without holding midfielder John Obi Mikel on Sunday, with the club confirming he will remain out for around three more weeks after straining knee ligaments in Monday night's 3-1 defeat at Arsenal.