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Slowing or Aiding Player Development?


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After last nights Reserve game i wanted to start a discussion on the way Chelsea is developing our young players. It has always been evident and more so last night and was even touched on by Paul Clement before the match that the club like the players to be able to play a number of positions as they will be more valuable to the club.

Now i can certainly understand that logic, but at the same time i feel it is stunting the development of players as instead on continuously improving their game they are having to learn a whole new one and one they are not always comfortble with.

Utility players are without doubt very useful, but when was the last time you saw a world class one? It is as the old saying goes "Jack of all trades, master of none". Lets take an example of Nana Ofori-Twumasi, he has a fantastic build and strength and a good turn of speed, he has looked an excellant right back, but for the majority of this season has been played at Centre Back where is far from comfortable and more often than not very poor. Now because he has not been continously playing his best position "right-back" his actual improvement has slowed down.

The same can be said of a number of players. Jacopo Sala who has looked a good winger has played striker, central midfield and right back for the U18's this season.

I am all for letting some players develop into good utility players but my worry is that if we continue to do this with all of our players then we are not going to produce the World Class players we want to see.....

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You might be right there.

Maybe Clement does not feel these players will ever be good enough to play for Chelsea anyway, so he is giving them a rounded education to help them in their careers in the lower leagues?

It is possible but i doubt it, most of these players are at the early stage of their development. Players like Fabio Ferreira, Ricardo Fernandes and Jimmy Smith is where you would expect to see that. But not Nana, Van Aanholt or Bruma ect...

I am worried that we have this part of our youth development very wrong and we are going to ruin these players.

Jeffery Bruma is a centre back - train him to be the best centre back he can be

Van Aanholt is a left back - don't confuse his development by playing him as a winger.

Nana-Ofori is a right back - don't put him at centre back where is very uncomfortable and unsuited.

I could go on..............

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