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Will the academy eventually help us dominate English football?


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I had an interesting conversation on Twitter with someone nearly five years ago about our academy, even created an article about it at the time, which I even managed to find, here it is.....

I have since deleted Twitter, so you won't be able to find the whole conversation although in the replies a couple quoted some of the things the other lad said to me, but basically he said a chief of the FA youth development programme (something along them lines) said Chelsea have all the best youngsters from London and surrounding area's and that the long term plan in place is insanely brilliant, also that Rome wasn't built in a day and to give it time we will dominate just like Man.Utd did.

Despite bringing the contents off the convo on here i was pretty skeptical, Twitter can be full of attention seeking morons at the best of times, but looking at the sheer success of the academy since then, was everything said to me that day spot on?

5 youth cup finals in a row (3 wins plus one final to come) and back to back Uefa youth league victories along with all the other success our youth teams have enjoyed certainly suggest so, to put the youth cup achievements into perspective, when we made it three finals in a row in 2014, we were the first to do so since the Busby babes, to be on 5 now is just insane.

I don't watch the youth team as much as I would like but when I do what strikes me is the sheer chemistry they share, Blackburn first leg semi this year for example, their wasn't as much individual quality as their has been on other teams, but they were still so comfortable in their possesion and movements that Rover's couldn't touch us.

So the key question is, have we played the ultimate long game? because the first part of what the lad said was right as our academy sides are getting stronger by the year, so is it only a matter of time before we truly reap the rewards? Is Ruben the start of our very own class of 92?

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Could not get to read those posts/comments/twitters as I have never been on one of those things.

My answer to your question in one word : NO.

I watch our youth quite regularly and we have some absolute Gems in their. But I dont think the problem is about "talent". At the youth level, "talent" can win you everything, literally. But our failure has been in integrating youth into the first team. Using the talent along with the money.

I respect Jose for all that he has done for us, BUT, he was the worst person to bring in IF the club were actually looking at integrating the youth. Sure, Jose said a lot of things about creating a dynasty, about young horses, about solanke and so and so getting to play at England, but the actual work that he put into making those promises come true was 0 if not negative (looking at how he dealt with Musonda). Jose does not trust youngsters and never will. He had trouble trusting and giving oppurtunities to a 21 million pound signing, our youth players never ever stood a chance.

Anyways, I digress. Jose is/was only a part of the problem. Main problem is the fact that Roman has no patience, our board/management has no clue about how to go about integrating a youth player. Even Bayern went a couple of years without winning the Bundesliga and look at them now.

It might also be a mental block. We have never seen a youth player make it big here under Roman. Maybe, just maybe, we just need that one win and then we actually start trusting the youth and giving them real roles in the squad. Honestly, I think this season will be critical. We have SO much deadwood and not good enough players that its SHOCKING. I hope we actually sell the likes of Oscar, Pedro, Mikel, Cesc, Cahill, Iva and get the youth IN while also getting some key signings. RLC next year will be pivotal. I honestly hope Conte has big plans for him rather than 2 minutes in CL dead rubbers. 

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Only if the club abandons the idea of buying players all the time. People always chat about buying X, loaning Y, buying then loaning Z. Why not just play Y? I'd rather see RLC play for Chelsea next season than, loan him out to a team that has no obligation to even play him. I don't want the club to buy anyone next transfer window. Half the team is right there, ready to play, ready to step. How will anyone ever know unless the leap of faith is taken?

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Forget about the class of 92.  Never going to repeat itself at the Bridge.

Not buy anyone and only play youth players? Throw them into the deep end without proper integration of a couple of youth players at one time.  Sure if you want to get relegated.  Just need to adjust your expectations to that level then.

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3 hours ago, Spike said:

Only if the club abandons the idea of buying players all the time. People always chat about buying X, loaning Y, buying then loaning Z. Why not just play Y? I'd rather see RLC play for Chelsea next season than, loan him out to a team that has no obligation to even play him. I don't want the club to buy anyone next transfer window. Half the team is right there, ready to play, ready to step. How will anyone ever know unless the leap of faith is taken?

Yes this is what I mentioned at the beginning of the season. 

That I didn't care about buying players in the summer just as long as we take a gamble on youth. 

Mourinho hardly ever did. He just threaten the senior team but everything went South because he failed to integrate youth... 

That was the gamble we took this summer in not buying much. 

But the club is stupid for hiring Mourinho a manager that can't do much for youth and now I don't know if conte will be much of the same. 

If you wanted youth then you should have gone for Bielsa. In the last two teams he pushed the players and youth to the next level. 

Why do you think bilbao and Marseille had good players these past few years? 

Bielsa would have been it for our youth, to revolutionize and gamble like only a mad Men will do. 

But no we just go for a named manager and that's that. With no idea of philosophy to implement and what route to take. 

 

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Wish McEachran and Kakuta had got the same level of game time RLC ,Traore and Kennedy are getting right now..

To be blunt about it, those two players at the time looked more exciting than the current youth members playing in the senior squad..

But, then again, RLC, Traore and Kennedy may just have better attitude and perseverance in comparison to those two and might be why they end up doing better in the end.

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37 minutes ago, Blue Armour said:

Wish McEachran and Kakuta had got the same level of game time RLC ,Traore and Kennedy are getting right now..

To be blunt about it, those two players at the time looked more exciting than the current youth members playing in the senior squad..

But, then again, RLC, Traore and Kennedy may just have better attitude and perseverance in comparison to those two and might be why they end up doing better in the end.

McEachran got ridiculous amounts time at 17 when he debuted. He didn't improve at all. All he had was a beautiful first touch and a nice pass, everything else was fairly rubbish.

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14 hours ago, Tomo said:

I had an interesting conversation on Twitter with someone nearly five years ago about our academy, even created an article about it at the time, which I even managed to find, here it is.....

I have since deleted Twitter, so you won't be able to find the whole conversation although in the replies a couple quoted some of the things the other lad said to me, but basically he said a chief of the FA youth development programme (something along them lines) said Chelsea have all the best youngsters from London and surrounding area's and that the long term plan in place is insanely brilliant, also that Rome wasn't built in a day and to give it time we will dominate just like Man.Utd did.

Despite bringing the contents off the convo on here i was pretty skeptical, Twitter can be full of attention seeking morons at the best of times, but looking at the sheer success of the academy since then, was everything said to me that day spot on?

5 youth cup finals in a row (3 wins plus one final to come) and back to back Uefa youth league victories along with all the other success our youth teams have enjoyed certainly suggest so, to put the youth cup achievements into perspective, when we made it three finals in a row in 2014, we were the first to do so since the Busby babes, to be on 5 now is just insane.

I don't watch the youth team as much as I would like but when I do what strikes me is the sheer chemistry they share, Blackburn first leg semi this year for example, their wasn't as much individual quality as their has been on other teams, but they were still so comfortable in their possesion and movements that Rover's couldn't touch us.

So the key question is, have we played the ultimate long game? because the first part of what the lad said was right as our academy sides are getting stronger by the year, so is it only a matter of time before we truly reap the rewards? Is Ruben the start of our very own class of 92?

1) I noticed that this current team is much more about collective team than individuals. I generally am not very interested in youth team after Boga and Musonda graduated because you can't simply have better prospects than them, however I watched both semi-final and the final of the Uefa Youth League. Team understanding, cohesion, patterns and familarity more than individual efforts. It's clear to see that those boys are well-trained players, technical and physical. Practically everyone of them looks like potential good player. That's big indication of fantastic work of Academy throughout age groups.

2) However it's players that graduate and not teams. I simply cannot see any of them being THAT player for Chelsea. Our first team is much different than any of the age group from the way we play. Familarity comes to nothing here. So generally there has to be a special talent to break to the first team. This current youth team has many, many good all-round players but none of them is "special" (apart from Jay Dasilva). They should though generally push the level of English football higher when they will play for Norwich, Southampton, Aston Villa etc.

I'm predicting bigger carrer for players on the losing side like Augustin who looked great in pre-season for senior PSG team or Ikone that looked like a baller when he came on.

 

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It all comes down to the vision that your manager has ...

If he is someone who see youth as an integral part who can be developed, nursed and integrated into the first team then honestly we will not have to spend huge money on players for at a few years (I feel that even our board is more catered towards getting the youth into the 11) We have the some gems in the academy (Musonda, Boga, Abraham, etc), some other who can be brilliant squad players (Ake, RLC, Baker, Swift, Christsen, etc) plus add to the fact that we got some good experience players in the squad already so we dont have only youth players in the team. 

If we have a manager like Jose or who is not really into the entire process of investing time in the youth then even if you have 11 Messis and Ronaldos in your U-19s/U-21s they will never make it to the other side ... 

On a personal level, I do think we have a very strong foundation in the kids ... All comes down how well is their transition from being the talent, the potential into the play makers and winners for the club. 

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On 4/19/2016 at 10:00 PM, Spike said:

McEachran got ridiculous amounts time at 17 when he debuted. He didn't improve at all. All he had was a beautiful first touch and a nice pass, everything else was fairly rubbish.

He got a few chances in Carlo's last season in 2010-2011, after which he was shipped off on loan and never heard from again.

Beautiful first touch and a nice pass for a 17 yr old was pretty good for me,.at least that was something he could have built upon. 

On the other hand comparing with RLC, I'm not saying he's a bad player, no.. But apart from his physique, what really are his strongest qualities? I'll admit I haven't seen much of him outside of our senior squad games, but based on these games I haven't seen anything in his game that particularly stands out.

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We can easily integrate 2/3 young players, maybe more, but we won't win the league or CL with a team full of them. I would like to see baker, abraham, colkett, palmer, musonda and christensen brought through, but barring those I don't think the other youth players are good enough to be included regularly in the first team squad. We need players with top level experience mixed in too. Bringing RLC through is a great start. If we bring one or two youth players through a season then that would be incredible and viably achievable. 

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A bit off topic @Tomo do you still think that we will 'definitely' finish top half likely in top 7?

Because iirc a bit over a month or so ago, that was your argument for why we shouldn't play A LOT more youth in our matches. Given that we've not picked up many points in the games since and that even the points we did pick up are largely irrelevant since we look set for a bottom half finish, should we in retrospect have given a lot more chances for academy players and should we do so for the remaining matches?

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6 hours ago, It's too big said:

We can easily integrate 2/3 young players, maybe more, but we won't win the league or CL with a team full of them. I would like to see baker, abraham, colkett, palmer, musonda and christensen brought through, but barring those I don't think the other youth players are good enough to be included regularly in the first team squad. We need players with top level experience mixed in too. Bringing RLC through is a great start. If we bring one or two youth players through a season then that would be incredible and viably achievable. 

RLC, Baker, Abraham, Colkett, Palmer, Musonda, Christensen, thats 7 players right there. I would like to add Ake and Da Silva to that list.

Then we have some real good talents like Solanke and Boga.

8 - 10 players are a LOT. Plus if Conte has half a brain, Traore will be a big part of our future. We have all the ingredients right here. We have some big names deadwood who still have a brilliant market price (Oscar, Pedro, Cesc), we have some other deadwood that can fetch some money too (Cahill, Mikel, Moses, Mvg) and I am sure after the kind of season we have had, Roman will gladly sign a few blank cheques. So we have money, we have the best youth academy in the world, all we need is someone to put it all together. 

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2 hours ago, CHOULO19 said:

A bit off topic @Tomo do you still think that we will 'definitely' finish top half likely in top 7?

Because iirc a bit over a month or so ago, that was your argument for why we shouldn't play A LOT more youth in our matches. Given that we've not picked up many points in the games since and that even the points we did pick up are largely irrelevant since we look set for a bottom half finish, should we in retrospect have given a lot more chances for academy players and should we do so for the remaining matches?

Well we have a three point advantage on 11th, i think we will do enough for top half although granted top 7 is our of reach now.

And I'm sorry but you've twisted what I said about the youth, I never said we shouldn't play any, what I might have said is we shouldn't go overboard, which I stand by, and by overboard I mean more than 3-4 in one given lineup, part of the beauty of promoting young players is they that come in and play with "the men" so to speak, playing too many completely defeats the object and means they might aswell still be playing U21 football.

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To put quite simply, no. I don't think this academy will help us dominate English football, I don't think even 40% of this academy will ever see the Chelsea first XI. I find it extraordinary that the Chelsea u19s are defending and two-time UEFA Youth League champions & the Chelsea u21s have made it to 7 consecutive FA Youth Cup semi-finals and not a single member of the previous 6 has been able to force his way into the first team. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is flavour of the season, following the footsteps of Aké, McEachran & Kakuta. Musonda, you would imagine, is next in line but none of the aforementioned have been good enough* to make it.

 

* whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean anyway.

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Just now, LDN Blue said:

To put quite simply, no. I don't think this academy will help us dominate English football, I don't think even 40% of this academy will ever see the Chelsea first XI. I find it extraordinary that the Chelsea u19s are defending and two-time UEFA Youth League champions & the Chelsea u21s have made it to 7 consecutive FA Youth Cup semi-finals and not a single member of the previous 6 has been able to force his way into the first team. Ruben Loftus-Cheek is flavour of the season, following the footsteps of Aké, McEachran & Kakuta. Musonda, you would imagine, is next in line but none of the aforementioned have been good enough* to make it.

 

* whatever the fuck that's supposed to mean anyway.

40% is generous, LDN.

Youth trophies are pretty much irrelevant. And they become a whole lot less important when no one breaks through. It should be about development. A team like Ajax for example play with youngsters in the first team, very young players at u-21 level and some go out on loan. And that leads to weakened youth teams.

Completely agree with the last part. Thing is, the youngsters aren't nearly as good as fans make them out to be. Ask any fan of any club at any time and they'll tell you there are a couple or even a group of youngsters good enough to make the first team. It's not a coincidence. It's fans being fans.

While I do think Chelsea have some real talent, the great majority won't make it. I have hope for Christensen and Musonda. If not at Chelsea, I'd say they'll make it elsewhere (top level football). The likes of Ake, RLC, Boga, Solanke are up in the air for me. The rest.... no.

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14 minutes ago, DYC. said:

Thing is, the youngsters aren't nearly as good as fans make them out to be.

It's a funny thing we have at Chelsea though, most fans will be the first to give their academy players all the time and patience they require but our fans seem to be under this illusion it's the players we have. Yeah not all youth players are destined to make it and we've certainly done well in finding a lot of those players more suitable clubs, Van Aanholt at Sunderland comes to mind. Hell Robert Huth is about to win his second PL medal after he got one with Chelsea in '05. Agreed about the potential of Christensen & Musonda, more to the former as I haven't followed the young Belgian's career. 

The good thing is (to an extent) it's not just a Chelsea problem per se. It's a systemic problem in English football that severely lacks any real competition for academies, I'm baffled why we're still yet to even trail the B team system but I guess there would be more opposition from the Football League than anyone else.  

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2 hours ago, Tomo said:

Well we have a three point advantage on 11th, i think we will do enough for top half although granted top 7 is our of reach now.

And I'm sorry but you've twisted what I said about the youth, I never said we shouldn't play any, what I might have said is we shouldn't go overboard, which I stand by, and by overboard I mean more than 3-4 in one given lineup, part of the beauty of promoting young players is they that come in and play with "the men" so to speak, playing too many completely defeats the object and means they might aswell still be playing U21 football.

Sorry, I honestly didn't mean to twist what you said, but that is genuinely my recollection of the debate. 

So, do you think we should play more young players than we have? And I don't mean  start the U21 XI, but at a bare minimum, for me, we should be starting Traore, Kenedey and Miazga every match, in addition of course to RLC. Have one or two from the U21/19s on the bench and give them cameos. Don't think that's too much to ask for at all... 

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