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The Young Generation


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With the international fixture calendar robbingus of first team football, attention turns to the reserves and Academy,where plenty has been going on.A run of three games undefeated, coupled with anumber of players making the step up to reserve football, has leftyouth team coach Dermot Drummy with a smile on his face.

'Overall I am really pleased,' he said. 'I wentto the reserves on Monday night and saw Billy Knott and Milan Lalkovicscore, Billy Clifford came on in a holding role and Josh McEachran wasplaying too, and they look accomplished.

'Pushing up schoolboy Danny Mills and around sixyouth team players from the beginning of the season is very good andshows what standard we set at the Academy.'

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The Academy's most recent match was Saturday's3-2 win over Portsmouth at Cobham. Despite the victory, Drummy feelsthere was plenty to work on for his players.

'In terms of performances we were a bitdisappointing on Saturday, although we won against Portsmouth, it was agame we could have lost due to our mentality and application. I let theboys know that we were not happy with that but they have responded intraining,' he explained.

'We did some reflection and explained why wedidn't feel they had reached the standard we expect. The main problemwas the midfield shape, they were too tight and taking too manytouches, losing possession and giving unrealistic passes, which is notlike us. If we're good at one thing, it's moving the ball quickly.That's the standard we set and they have taken it on board.'

As with squads everywhere, the Academy has notbeen without its injuries, and added Austrian forward Philipp Prosenikto the casualty list at the weekend.

'Philipp sustained mild concussion againstPortsmouth and has been out, so we have to rest him. He may be okay forWest Ham Saturday but we're not sure yet,' said Drummy.

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He had news on a player who has not played thisseason due to a knee problem. 'Rohan Ince has started twisting andturning in his running and is looking quite good. James Ashton isunfortunate because he has picked up another knock in training thisweek.

Despite that, West Ham is a game we should bequite strong for because there is no reserve game, so it will beinteresting to see how those lads apply themselves coming back down.'

The one occasion where the Academy will alwaysfield the strongest available side is the FA Youth Cup, and the drawfor the third round takes place this Friday.

'The vibes are very good,' the coach smiled.'Everyone has a buzz and it gives us a bit of pressure. We want to dowell, and it's the one time where results are more important thanperformances.

'We will give ourselves the best chance ofwinning by selecting the best players available. Everyone gets a bitedgy but that's a taster of what the first team have to do week in weekout. We relish it, and whoever we get we will make sure we are fullyprepared and give it our best shot.'

The second string meanwhile , under SteveHolland, has had competitive matches on successive Mondays, turning intwo impressive performances against more experienced opposition inStoke City and Fulham.

This week, Chelsea came from behind three timesat Brentford to earn a point against our west London neighbours, afantastic show of character from the youngsters despite the absence ofmajor players.

Still around for that game though were international call-ups Daniel Sturridge (England Under 21s) and Jeffrey Bruma (Holland Under 21s), but a number of Under 19 players had already departed.

They include Jan Sebek, Jacopo Sala and Conor Clifford, who have all impressed in reserve team action this season.

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Also absent was Gael Kakuta, who has been giventhe all-clear to play again after his ban was suspended. His coach hadbeen hopeful that the French youngster would be available to play, butinstead was called up for a trio of friendlies with his national side.

The other lads all have three EuropeanChampionship qualifying pictures. Czech Sebek faces Cyprus, Malta andHolland over the next week, while Italian Sala may come up against theIrish Clifford when the two countries meet next week. They have alsobeen grouped with Albania and San Marino.

There was also great news for striker FabioBorini with the 18-year-old receiving his first call-up to the ItalyUnder 21 squad. The side coached by former Blue Pierluigi Casiraghiplays Hungary on Friday and Luxembourg on Tuesday.

Source: Chelsea FC

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