JACK Cork may never have pulled on the Chelsea blue during his decade at Stamford Bridge, but the Clarets midfielder believes his time at the club was a valuable part of his development.

The 28-year-old captained Chelsea's youth and reserve teams but never made the step up to the senior side.

Instead he had loan spells at six different clubs, including two different temporary moves to Turf Moor, before the Blues cashed in and sold him to Southampton in the summer of 2011.

The route Cork took at Chelsea is one that has become increasingly familiar at the Bridge, with the champions having almost 40 players out on loan last season.

Some of them will be sold on for a considerable profit without ever making a senior appearance for their parent club, but Cork believes it's a system that can work for individual players, giving them quality coaching and experience at different levels as they try to make their way in the game.

"I liked it. People said 'don't sign for them because you won't play' but that's not necessarily the way it goes," Cork said of his time in West London.

"Look at how many players have made it after signing for them and doing well through the loan system. You get a lot of opportunities at Championship or lower Premier League teams.

"It is tough but just a different way of doing things. It has worked. Not necessarily for their team but the individuals.

"A lot of British players don't go abroad and it does open up that door for young English players to get that experience and come back here."

Cork has been back to Stamford Bridge on numerous occasions since his initial departure for St Mary's, earning draws there with Southampton in 2013/14 and Swansea in 2015/16.

He will make his third 'debut' for Burnley at the home of the champions on Saturday and it's a trip he is excited about.

"I do always look forward to it because I never really got chance to play there - I was always on loan," he said. "It's always one I look forward to going to the most.

"The people have changed but there are some familiar faces. It should be exciting for us. Maybe first day will be good for us because we'll be fresh. Maybe we can catch them and get them a bit edgy."