Over the last fifteen years, Chelsea have only managed to bring one player from their youth academy. John Terry has captained the team and won sixteen trophies with the club – but why is he the only one?
The UEFA Youth League was successfully defended a week ago, with the U19s edging out Paris Saint-Germain in Nyon and the U18s drew 1-1 with Manchester City in the first leg of this year’s FA Youth Cup final on Friday. However, it is uncertain how many of these players who are doing so well now in the youth competitions will be given a chance to play in the Premier League with the senior squad in the future.
Michael Emenalo, the clubs technical director spoke to the Daily Mail about this issue and said it is just not Chelsea who have not brought a lot of players into the first team, he singled out Tottenham as only bringing through Harry Kane.
“We try to remind them it’s not just a Chelsea problem, with the investment we are making and where we think the game is going and the competition that we have, you can’t just buy your way out of trouble all the time, It’s a massive job to try to keep them patient and to keep them going until they get here, but I think from next season there will be signs.”
Bertrand Traore, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kenedy have made an impact on the first team this season, while Todd Kane should compete for a squad place next term.
Loftus-Cheek has been the main youth player that has played in the first team from last season and he has currently made 13 appearances with one goal for the senior team. He is a promising player who has also played for the Under-21 England team.
The concept of a first-team pathway is something often talked about at Chelsea but sneered at by those outside the club. Some 18 years after his senior debut, John Terry remains the last man to do what is referred to at Cobham as “crossing the road”.
Many have since tried and failed, most simply lacked the required quality while others who were trusted by certain managers – Josh McEachran by Carlo Ancelotti, Ryan Bertrand by Roberto Di Matteo, Nathan Ake by Rafael Benitez – saw their opportunities dry up when their manager left Stamford Bridge. Under Hiddink, Loftus-Cheek has begun to establish himself in the final weeks of a lost season and defender Jake Clarke-Salter made his senior debut as a substitute against Aston Villa last month.
John Terry who is now 35 has not been offered a contract and will be a free agent at the end of the season if no offer is made.
Have a look at Chelsea’s development squads.
What do you think about the lack of youth players playing regular first team.
(Images from The Metro, Sky Sports and The Sun)