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Chelsea Youth Hopes

The Big Drog

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joey.jpgYouth and Chelsea are not often associated. Abramovich arrived, bringing with him bags of cash and since then not a single youth player has broken into the Chelsea starting eleven.

The last player from the youth set up to become a regular fixture in the Chelsea line up is current club and England captain, John Terry. As Roman embarked on his quest of world football domination , spending hundreds of millions in his wake, the clubs academy faded into the backround of everybody’s minds.

So the big question is, why has no player broken through in recent times? Frank Arnesen foolishly predicted a few years ago that by this season his Chelsea youth team would provide a first team player each year. That goal was clearly too lofty. Breaking into the Chelsea side is no easy goal. From the England captain, to arguably the best holding midfielder in the world, to perhaps the greatest player ever to play at Chelsea, to last years top scorer in the league, it’s a team of top calibre, world class superstars. Dislodging any of those household names is a daunting task for any player. However it is something that must be accomplished.

The youth set up at Chelsea has never been more important. Since football's local overlords, FIFA, have banned Chelsea from two transfer windows, effectively cutting off the supply of players to Chelsea, academy prospects emerging in the first team has never been more vital. The clubs “The Pensioners“ nickname originates from its London roots, however it serves a double purpose as the first team squad consists of players who are, or already have, advanced over the 30 years of ago mark. Not being able to supply fresh players into the club means that the average age of the side will just continue to rise and there is little Chelsea can do until the ban lifts or Peter Kenyon’s appeal proves successful. By that time Chelsea may have to depend on one, two or perhaps even three of their academy stars to become world class stars.

Who can do it? Who at Chelsea can dislodge the established names? Here is a list of Chelsea youth players who I think have the best chance of succeeding on top.

Michael Mancienne: The England U-21 star was sent on loan to Wolves this season by new Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti. A highly capable centre back who also doubles as a right back, Chelsea clearly see this young man as a star of the future, as was proven when the club offered him a long term contract.

Daniel Sturridge: Bought from the new rich kids on the block, Man City, Sturridge wanted away after failing to land a £50,000 a week deal. Chelsea were only too happy to sign the 19 year old Englishman. Entering impressive performances during Chelsea’s pre season tour of America, Sturridge has yet to start a game this season. Having scored a hattrick in the reserves, there was a good chance of him getting his chance in the league cup tie with QPR but injury prevented that. Possessing incredible speed and a good eye for goal, learning under Drogba and Anelka should really go a long way to helping him for the day he becomes the man to lead the Chelsea attack.

Fabio Borini: Being named on the bench for Chelsea in games against Porto and Spurs, given a short run out against Spurs and then being handed his full senior début against QPR, Borini at the moment looks to be the highest ranked player at Chelsea from the youth academy. Having been talked up by Ancelotti, saying its good to start introducing a youth player into the side, the Italian's chances of making it at Chelsea look quite good. Only 18 years old and with an eye for goal, the young man looks a potential hit for the club.

Gael Kakuta: A name that has almost become the modern football equivalent of Watergate, you could be forgiven for forgetting that Kakuta is actually a footballer and not a code word. Hailed as the star of the Chelsea academy, the young French man has been set back by his four month ban. His profile in the public now raised in a huge way, when he does play for the first team more than a few eyes will be watching closely.

Nemanja Matic: signed for Chelsea for somewhere around the region of £ 1.5 million, Matic has already been called up to the senior Serbian side. A holding midfielder who is compared to former Ancelotti favourite, Andrea Pirlo, Matic appeared on the bench for Chelsea in their clash with QPR but didn’t make it onto the pitch. Still though there are high hopes for the young Serbian, as he develops into a player equipped to deal with the English premier league, he could well prove a good asset to the Chelsea side.

Franco Di Santo: The forgotten man at Chelsea perhaps? Di Santo is currently out on loan at Blackburn but is out of action due to injury. The Argentinian is still only 20 but has been in and around the Chelsea first team squad for a while now. A big, strong player with surprising speed, he does appear to be in the same mould of striker as Didier Drogba. An encouraging sign for him for Ancelotti sent him out on loan to a premier league club.

There are others like Sam Hutchinson, Scott Sinclair etc. But those players mentioned are the ones who I think have the best chance.

All of this being said, there is quite a high probability that even if the Chelsea first team entirely consisted of academy players, the Arsenal or Manchester United youth set ups would still probably get more credit. Teams are tagged and Chelsea have been tagged as The Pensioners and that nickname is not only used because of its traditional base. If Prince Blatter gets his way and Chelsea’s 2 transfer window ban sticks , its hugely important that Chelsea introduce a few academy players into the first team. For this task there could be no better man than Carlo Ancelotti, the man who brought Kaka and Pato to the world stage might well end up doing the same for a couple of our young players and if he does that then maybe Sepp Blatter might receive some sarcastic applause.

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There seems to be a cross over in this article between the failings of the academy and young players who haven't come through the academy...

Indeed mate that is an underlying theme in the piece. The timing of the article and the mere fact that Im writing such an article also contributes to that theme. Though there is also a positive message in there , that being that some of the players that the academy has produced are ( or will be ) good enough to crack the Chelsea starting eleven. I also support the idea of bringing in talented youngsters such as Daniel Sturridge.

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agrre TBD, Stoch and Cork are great talents.. we do have alot of exciting young talent such as lalkovic mitrovic, adam phillip, borini, hutchinson, bruma, van aanholt, cork, kakuta... who i feel could all cut it in the first team...and a few more.

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At the end of the day there is one way and one way only of telling if these lads are good enough, and that is to play them!

Fabio Borini, he did very well on his debut so he has a very good chance of breaking through.

Sam Hutchinson, fantastic game against QPR another with a very good shot.

Michael Mancienne, hasn't looked out of place when he played.

Scott Sinclair, has done OK, a little more to prove i feel.

Miroslav Stoch, had a couple of very good appearances and would do a job for us.

Players like Di Santo, Matic and Sturridge are different because they are brought in as first team squad members, they are expected already to do a job for the first team when needed.

What we MUST remember with these young lads is that they don't HAVE to be world class. We have a squad! And in my opinion i would rather have someone like Jack Cork who is young enthusiastic and full of energy than a player like Belletti in our squad. We can produce for ourselves squad players as well as main stars.

Right now we finally have a really really good group of youngsters who we can think about bringing through, at the moment a lot are on loan so players like Borini are getting a chance ahead of them, but their time will come. Bertrand, Cork, Van Aanholt, Stoch ect.. all have every chance of being part of our squad at some point.

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Esk belletti has a attribute that helps us thats his brilliant shooting. Jack cork has nothing in his ability that can win us a game like juliano !

Sure, but then Belletti is more than a decade older than Cork.

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Esk belletti has a attribute that helps us thats his brilliant shooting. Jack cork has nothing in his ability that can win us a game like juliano !

He's not exactly prolific, it's just his goals are more memorable. My point is, rather than having a 30+ utility player who is very unlikely to get starts we should be using that squad place for someone young. If your talking goals comming off the bench then what about Stoch, Borini ect..???

We need to trust our youth. We have seen in one game alone (QPR) how we can trust our youth just as much as we can any squad player. I know he has gone now, but Ben Haim or Hutchinson? Pizarro or Borini??

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