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Once again the discussion of the progression of young players has reared its head on the TalkChelsea forums this week. This time it was in relation to Lucas Piazon, who although cannot play until January is about to come over and spend the time between now and then training with Chelsea. The discussion was mainly around when we would see him in the first team and how he will break through. It is a familiar discussion when talking about Chelsea youngsters and a topic that is not easily answered. I will,however, give my view on this topic.

Chelsea have world class training facilities, for both senior and younger players. Our academy is top class and we are producing some real quality players, but many people are confused as to why we have been unable to bring through a youngster to the first team. First of all I would have to say that JoshMcEachran having now made 17 first team appearances at the age of 18 is pretty good and a sign that we are capable of bringing through youngsters. There is an argument however that Josh having proved himself in the first team should have had more than those 17 appearances which is also a fair point.

The disappointing thing for me is when our young players arenot given a real chance to improve. There seems to be a feeling among supporters (and within the club it would appear) that youngsters in our first team have to be world class first team regulars or not used at all. We have yet to get the balance right with regards to bringing through players and allowing them to develop in first team games. We have seen numerous games where we have well in front and in control and rather than give a youngster 20 or 30 minutes we have brought on a older member of the squad who could well be starting in the next game anyway, for example Kalou rather than Kakuta, Malouda intomidfield rather than McEachran, Zhirkov instead of Bertrand. It is these opportunities which must be afforded to young players if they are to be integrated into first team football.

The loan system can be very good for young players, but itis 50/50. You are totally in the mercy of coaches of the loan team as to howand when the players get played and it can be that the player will get played hardly at all which is a totally pointless exercise. In this country we have areal problem with the development of young players between the ages of 18 and20, the reserve system is no real stage for development, there are too few games and the competitive level is just not there. We will always be behind countries like Spain and Germany whilst their youngsters are given far better environments to develop at these age groups. In my opinion the FA in this country need to take a real hard look at this because it needs something like reserve teams in league football or a serious U21’s league with the same amount of fixtures to mirror first team football (this has been discussed but never materialised) if we are to see a better progression of young players.

However I do think that Chelsea need to better develop their strategies when it comes to bringing the players through, giving them opportunities when you can as I have already stated above is a key point forme. But more consideration needs to be given also. At the moment Chelsea have confirmed that they have bid for Porto’s Alvaro Perreira, a left sided wingback. Many people have realised that this will be a huge blow to the development of Ryan Bertrand and Patrick Van Aanholt. It has been suggested that Perreira would operate more as a left winger than a full back which would not impact Bertrand and Van Aanholt. However, there is no doubt in my mind that were Perreira in our squad and Ashley Cole got injured for a few weeks it would be Perreira that would step in and not the young left backs we have. It could be argued that maybe Bertrand and Van Aanholt are just not good enough but when called into the first team they have proven that they can contribute a lot to the team and not look out of place. Also new contracts for them both would also seem to indicate that Chelsea DO see them as being good enough.

Will Daniel Sturridge who has proven what he can do for Chelsea in the Premier League be given the starting role he deserves upon his return from suspension. Or will we continue with more experienced players who have yet to prove they can contribute more than Sturridge? I would say if Sturridge is not going to get a regular starting place this season within our squad then we are always going to struggle to bring him through.As I said at the beginning there is not easy answer to the question of developing youngsters, but one thing I am very sure of is there needs to be improvement. Improvement in the set up of developing young players, also improvement in the clubs ability to integrate young players into the first team squad and give them more minutes on the pitch. Villas Boas is another new manager at Chelsea, we will have to wait and see what his plans are for our young players and how he intends to use them and hopefully we will see some positive signs.

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Indeed EskWeston, thats a nice read. I do believe that AVB will give the young players some playing time hence intergrating them to the first team. We need to understand that he is a new manager that has to first of all, lay down his philosophy and idas to the first team, cuz he needs results. As the season progresses, I am sure he will start introducing the young lads, giving them more minutes.

I just dont know how Bayern Munich manage to intergrate young players to their team at the same time still competing on all fronts. Some nice football they play too.

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@ OP great post

Indeed EskWeston, thats a nice read. I do believe that AVB will give the young players some playing time hence intergrating them to the first team. We need to understand that he is a new manager that has to first of all, lay down his philosophy and idas to the first team, cuz he needs results. As the season progresses, I am sure he will start introducing the young lads, giving them more minutes.

I just dont know how Bayern Munich manage to intergrate young players to their team at the same time still competing on all fronts. Some nice football they play too.

Very simple explanation: Bayern have 100% confidence in their youth without any ounce of doubt or reservation.. . . Is Muller,Kroos et al good enough or ready for the big stage.

regarding your quote " cuz he needs results" it reinforces our youth development problem as it suggests AVB, as with other previous newly appointed Chelsea managers, cannot trust any of the youth players to perform well and produce the results required to hit the ground running very early in his Chelsea career.

The absence of that mentality is the sole reason why teams like Ajax, Man Utd and Bayern munich have been able to strike the balance between youth integration and success over the years.

starting the season with exactly the same team selection as last season doesn't exactly send the right signal or statement of intent in terms of youth development imho.

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Unless the policy of firing coaches after a bad season changes, don't expect many miracles in the youth department. When there is no job security the manager has to focus primarily on getting results and consequently he wouldn't feel safe placing his trust in kids. At the end of the day, his job is on the line and it's natural he would depend on the established names to carry him through.

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Unless the policy of firing coaches after a bad season changes, don't expect many miracles in the youth department. When there is no job security the manager has to focus primarily on getting results and consequently he wouldn't feel safe placing his trust in kids. At the end of the day, his job is on the line and it's natural he would depend on the established names to carry him through.

Exactly!! Jose had that issue and no doubt Carlo. Cant afford to take risks so they dont...if Roman can offer confidence and that if we dont win anything but involve the youth that job be safe then sure be fine to and hopfully we'll see it anyway but pressure on to win and all which is the issue..but then again wont find out how well unless you play them...

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We have seen numerous games where we have well in front and in control and rather than give a youngster 20 or 30 minutes we have brought on a older member of the squad who could well be starting in the next game anyway, for example Kalou rather than Kakuta, Malouda intomidfield rather than McEachran, Zhirkov instead of Bertrand. It is these opportunities which must be afforded to young players if they are to be integrated into first team football.

This particular point expels the myth it's entirely because of the pressure on managers. Particular games under Carlo, we had been comfortably in front and he was brining on the likes of Kalou instead of Kakuta.

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Quality > experience/age. AVB said "to get experience, you must be given the access and opportunity" only time will tell if he's a man of his words afterall Porto took a massive gamble in appointing him as their manager. An appointment that brought him into limelight.

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Unless the policy of firing coaches after a bad season changes, don't expect many miracles in the youth department. When there is no job security the manager has to focus primarily on getting results and consequently he wouldn't feel safe placing his trust in kids. At the end of the day, his job is on the line and it's natural he would depend on the established names to carry him through.

Exactly while the philosofy of the manager is also very important, something many here for some reason overlook.

When Louis van Gaal became Bayern's manager, where there's always immense pressure to win throphies, he made the likes of Muller and Badstuber starters, who were unknown at the time but that doesn't matter to him.

Frank de Boer did the same at Ajax and made the likes of Eriksen, Boilesen and Alderweireld, who lost his starter place under the previous manager, starters.

Some people say they are confident AVB will intergrate youth (if he gets the time). What this belief is based on I don't get as he's only been a club manager for two years and he hasn't made any promises regarding intergrating youth. There was a similar belief by some in Ancelotti while his eight years at Milan didn't suggest he finds intergrating youth important.

So the manager's philosofy plays a key role as well.

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We have seen so many false dawns . So many future of Chelsea young players . It is easy to become cynical or disheartened , So much

money has been invested in Cobham and also in fees for young players we have brought in . Why so little end product?

Madmax makes the most pertinent point . Insecurity of our coaches leads them away from introducing youth. SAF and Wenger don't have

this problem neither will King Kenny. The have the job security which frees them to give young players their chances.

The business phrase "you have to speculate to accumulate" applies in the development of youth .

But the coach needsto feel secure AND KNOW he is there for the long term not two years.

I do hope lessons have been learned by Roman and that we have a coach secure and confident to give the young playing time.

Further work needs to be done to improve the fixtures for the Youth and Reserve sides . More meetings at these level with other

continental sides might prove beneficial. Looking back over the last 5 years at U 21 international players who are no longer

at the club is a very depressing experience ... We can but hope things improve over the next 5 years

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Exactly while the philosofy of the manager is also very important, something many here for some reason overlook.

When Louis van Gaal became Bayern's manager, where there's always immense pressure to win throphies, he made the likes of Muller and Badstuber starters, who were unknown at the time but that doesn't matter to him.

Frank de Boer did the same at Ajax and made the likes of Eriksen, Boilesen and Alderweireld, who lost his starter place under the previous manager, starters.

Agree, there are always exceptions to any rule. I'm not claiming that pressure managers face is the only reason we're lagging behind in youth integration, but I do believe it is the biggest reason. Undoubtedly it would help if the manager is safe in the knowledge that a couple of years of relative slowdown in trophy-winning will not see him leave. Then he can formulate and try and implement a long term blueprint which would of course involve youth integration. Roman himself wouldn't want to keep splashing out millions on international superstars considering the time and effort that has been put into making the academy what is it today.

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Your right it could be argued if some of our youth is good enough, but how would we know when we never see them play... But it doesn't help with us having so many different managers in the past years, however with AVB hasn't played any young players, but its only been two games to be fair, hopefully we will see a lot of players get their chance and seeing the likes of Lampard and Malouda on the bench for once, Sturridge definitely needs to start, shame he couldn't start next game, that 3 games ban is incredibly harsh in my opinion.

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Unless the policy of firing coaches after a bad season changes, don't expect many miracles in the youth department. When there is no job security the manager has to focus primarily on getting results and consequently he wouldn't feel safe placing his trust in kids. At the end of the day, his job is on the line and it's natural he would depend on the established names to carry him through.

Fair point, Jaimin. With job security comes the confidence to experiment, which is why Ancelotti was very wary of fielding youngsters, even in the cup. I hope from the fact Roman spent big money on AVB that he has faith in him, and will allow him to give the youth a chance.

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The reason we have not had many youth players since Terry is to be quite frank they were just not cut to make the grade.

Jose blooded Sinclair, Sahar and to a lesser extent Huth. Sahar was dreadfull, Huth was a donkey and Sinclair jurys out with. Scolari said his plan long term was to phase out the old players with Stoch, Kakuta etc etc only time would have told whether that would have worked. Stoch was in our plans for last season but he was not prepared to fight for his place, he prefered being the big fish in the small pond.

Carlo did play more youth than all our previous managers since Vialli (not that its saying much) but i agree with TX that he missed a trick not playing them more when things were going well. then all off a sudden Kakuta got thrown in at The Emirates with the Goonies 3-0 up and the fans on our back that would harly help him, unless we came back and drew, despite a decent cameo there.

I do think Andre is planning to use more when things settle down personally instead of playing them all at once and it backfiring (Newcastle 3-4 style) play them one by one, Bertrand one game, then give Josh a run out, next week PVA. Andre should focus on those 3 this season then look at the likes of Chalabah, Clifford and co next time out.

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I think certain conditions should be met if we are to provide the environment in which our youngsters can develop.

1. Our 'result is all that matters' policy should change and give more breathing space for the manager as Madmax pointed out earlier. Not only will this let AVB help develop our youth, but it will also help him make better decisions. I think the way Ancelotti reacted last season was mostly because of the pressure piling upon him, and although dealing with pressure is an important attribute for a manager, there is way too much unnecessary pressure on Chelsea managers.

2. We should have the players that can win us good results. We are not Arsenal; we have ambition. On top of that, Roman has huge expectations for the team, and what I said in point 1 is hard to achieve. In the past few seasons our squad has not been at its best. i mean, it was good enough for PL and European title contention, but we lacked creativity and our squad was aging very quickly, and these things really affected our performance time to time. And whenever we're not doing so well, we tend to stick to experience rather than youth, and obviously that doesn't do any good, because it's the experienced players that are not doing well, and then we find ourselves in a vicious cycle. And even if we throw young players into action in desperation when we do badly, it's highly unlikely that they'll perform well. Even huge stars like Fernando Torres has hard time coping with pressure. Young players, if put under pressure, have now two things to worry about instead of one.

3. We need to keep our first team squad slim and leave a few spots for young players. I know we ran into much trouble last season because we didn't have enough players, but is it really a good idea to keep Anelka, Kalou, Malouda, and Ferreira just to be safe? As senior players, these guys have more say than young players. AVB can tell Lalkovic to fuck off if Milan tells him he deserves to play (and he does if Kalou does), but if Malouda and Anelka decide to go on a demonstration, he is in trouble. Keeping the squad harmonious is the manager's most important and biggest challenge, and if AVB wants to keep everyone happy, he needs to play everyone. Then we find ourselves in a situation where we're playing Anelka when it could be better to play Sturridge or we're playing Ferreira instead of Bertrand.

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Great OP and good topic.

I can't tell you just how pissed off I was with Carlo when he made those dumb decisions. The absolute worst one was starting Paulo Ferreira at left-back ahead of PVA against Marseille in what was essentially a dead rubber game as we had already qualified as group winners. If a manager is going to make stupid decisions like that then they may as well close the youth department down and stop wasting rescources on these players.

Sturridge is 10x the player Kalou is, he should have been given a hell of a lot more chances in the last two years. I remember a game against Everton last season Kalou was having another nightmare game as usual (even by his very low standards this performance in particular was absolutely horrific) and Sturridge only came on in the 88th minute. What the hell was he supposed to do in 2 minutes plus stoppage time? That sort of thing is a confidence killer. It's reasons like that I am absolutely glad Ancelotti was sacked. He just didn't seem to give a f**k about Sturridge and that made my blood boil.

Now AVB strikes me as more inclined to give the young players a chance. I think McEachran is clearly our best young player* and nobody else has his level of talent and potential of all the kids so it's only natural he plays the most. But I thought PVA and Bertrand would also get opportunities so this Pereira transfer has kind of surprised me because I thought we had adequate cover for Ashley.

*Not including Sturridge. He is 21 now and is a adult, he should be treated like a senior squad member and not a kid that is being eased into the team.

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