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FIVE UNDER-21S RELEASED


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Five of our Under-21 squad were released from the club at the end of January, to allow them to find new clubs before the end of the season.

James Ashton, Conor Clifford, Ben Gordon, Rohan Ince and Adam Phillip have all been released from their contracts in advance, with the hope of quickly finding new clubs before hundreds of others find themselves in a similar situation around the country.

Head of youth development Neil Bath discussed the thinking behind the move.

'There were two sides to it. There was a group of players whose contracts were up, and we felt it appropriate to tell them now that they will not be offered new deals,' he explained.

'We made a decision from a welfare point of view to tell them early, and pay their contracts up early to put them in a position where they are not in the same as many other players at the end of the season, where there could be a couple of hundred guys in the summer looking for new clubs.

'It's a good aftercare thing to do for boys that have been with us a long time, and it gives them the opportunity to go and seek opportunities for their next move.

'Between the staff here we have good contacts within the game and we look to use those to help the boys on their way.'

It also allows the club to blood emerging youngsters in the Under-21 side over the second half of the season.

'For the remainder of the season our Under-21 side could now be quite young, which means the lads could struggle physically, but the result is not so important, it's the development and for them to experience the Under-21 league earlier than others might have done at other clubs,' Bath said. 'It allows us to push them on too, while helping the other lads with their career pathway.'

Bath speaks well of each of the five released players.

James Ashton

'We've had James since he was eight. Unfortunately he has suffered with injuries for a lot of that time. He has matured very quickly physically, and with that there has been several injuries. Last season we chose to give him a year of support, but now James will look for his next move.'

Conor Clifford

'Conor came over from Ireland at Under-15. We've always given him support and help that comes with bringing someone from abroad without their immediate friends and family with them. I hope to keep in contact with him. He had a fantastic time in the Youth Cup for us, and his challenge is to adjust from youth to men's football. He's gaining some fantastic experience with the Irish national team and he's a gusty, determined, hard-tackling player, who has scored a lot of goals. I hope a club goes with him.'

Ben Gordon

'Ben is slightly different from the others because he joined us from Leeds as an Under-16, as a schoolboy international. He has spent a lot of time out on loans, he has some very good experience and won the Scottish Cup, but it was felt he wasn't going to be a Chelsea player, so now we have allowed him to move on.'

Rohan Ince

'Rohan has been with us since he was eight, and even now we are unsure what level he will end up playing at, and unsure of his best position. He has played centre-back and central midfield, and had a lot of injuries on the way. He has done well in both positions, he can play the ball well, is good in the air and likes to break forward. Different clubs may like him in different positions, and we think he can make a living out of the game.'

Adam Phillip

'Adam has been with us since the age of Under-14, but has had a lot of injuries in recent years. He has shown goalscoring ability, pace and strength that a lot of clubs would look for. We'd hope if he can remain injury-free and find the next challenge, that he could make a career out of the game.'

Also in the Academy this week, Under-18 defender Alistair Gordon has been allowed to join Crystal Palace on a permanent deal after a successful trial.

'Alistair has been an extremely popular member of the Academy since joining as an Under-14,' Bath said. 'He has represented England but we decided he wasn't going to be offered professional terms, so we are delighted he has been able to train at Crystal Palace and sign a permanent deal.'

http://www.chelseafc.com/news-article/article/3061854/title/five-under-21s-released

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That's football unfortunately. 95% of players in our academy won't make it at this club and its better if they are given the chance to find a new club as early as possible in their career to help them continue with their development and prolong their career

Im waiting for the 5% to show up .... JT then Ryan thats about 15 years ,,, ....I think we paid about 2million for Gordon ....

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Im waiting for the 5% to show up .... JT then Ryan thats about 15 years ,,, ....I think we paid about 2million for Gordon ....

as long as we keep going out and buying 'world class' players for stupid fees youth players will never get a chance and the figure will remain in the high 90%'s

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I can expect more to be sold or released like Kakuta, Perez, Davilla, Bruma, Kane, Hutchinson, Omeruo, PVA, etc. About 95% of this season's U21's. It's the nature of the beast unfortunately. I like Hunte, Colkette, Feruz and Ake though. I think they got a chance.

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Better for the players, our academy is good but there is very little prospects for them breaking through as the majority won't make. Better to find a lower league team or championship teams academy where they are more relieant on their academy for future talent. Good luck to them, if they become great i am sure we will end up buying them back lol.

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Since we have produced 2 players in the last 15 years from,our academy, I think it's reasonable to shut it down. We pay millions for young talents and then release them. So, chelsea board there is no reason to keep it going this way, so shut it down...

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Since we have produced 2 players in the last 15 years from,our academy, I think it's reasonable to shut it down. We pay millions for young talents and then release them. So, chelsea board there is no reason to keep it going this way, so shut it down...

That's harsh. I get the frustration but Chelsea never put any real effort in the academy until a few years ago. A few of the good prospects are on loan getting the much needed exposure and minutes like Chalobah, McEachran, Kalas, etc. Many of the next good prospects are still school boys or about to get their loan deals next season like Nathan Ake and Islam Feruz. Plus we have capped internationals in Houghton, Hunte, Colkette and another great one is Boga who's still a school boy. Plus despite this bad image that the club is slowly trying to overcome, there's still many wonder kids out there passing on Arsenal for Chelsea and that's a great sign. Especially when United or City try to poach Hunte and he stayed loyal to Chelsea.

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I know every young player chelsea bought in the last 6-7 years...and we spent millions on them. I am just frustrated that no one in the last 10 years didn't get chance. I just hope this scenario won't happen, and that is when new manger come next season he will try to make instant impact and he will buy few new players and try to win immediately...so we can probably forget our youth players will get chance... I really hope this won't happen but.....

also I think if mourinho come next season he will do just what I mentioned...buy new players and try to win immediately.. Also I think we have one of the best youth players, curtuois, de bryne, lukaku, musounda, chalobah, josh, kalas, PVA,hunte, kakuta, feruz, bruma etc....

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That's harsh. I get the frustration but Chelsea never put any real effort in the academy until a few years ago. A few of the good prospects are on loan getting the much needed exposure and minutes like Chalobah, McEachran, Kalas, etc. Many of the next good prospects are still school boys or about to get their loan deals next season like Nathan Ake and Islam Feruz. Plus we have capped internationals in Houghton, Hunte, Colkette and another great one is Boga who's still a school boy. Plus despite this bad image that the club is slowly trying to overcome, there's still many wonder kids out there passing on Arsenal for Chelsea and that's a great sign. Especially when United or City try to poach Hunte and he stayed loyal to Chelsea.

Plus the recent years FA Youth cup wins aren't a fluke. If you take a look at the results, we are always in the end stages (semi finals etc) of the tournament whereas other top4 academies drop out sooner. On saturday we'll have 5th round game against Barnsley / Stevenage.

Only team bringing through youngsters from their academy is Arsenal, who scout the gems and then mold them into their style. Man United's only real recent academy product is Welbeck / Cleverly. Da Silva brothers were bought from Fluminese, Smalling from Fulham, Jones from Blackburn, Powell from Crewe etc. So to every pessimist, no need to discredit our academy if you don't bother to have a proper look at it.

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