For the past couple decades, English Premier League Clubs have been known for having incredible youth academies and producing some incredible players. Chelsea Football Club is one of the many clubs known for producing amazing young players.
Several players have gone on to graduate from the academy and have become great players in Chelsea’s history, notably players such as John Terry, Peter Bonetti, Bobby Tambling, Peter Osgood, Graeme Le Saux, Carlton Cole and so many more.
But now, it seems as if the youth players of Chelsea’s academy today don’t seem to be getting the playing time they deserve. Instead, most players go out on loan and don’t get more than five appearances for the club.
Is it time for Chelsea to rethink the way they run their academy?
Chelsea’s academy and reserve teams have been proving their potential for many years. Since 2012, the reserve’s side has made it to the Football Association (FA) Youth Cup final, showing their dominance in youth competitions.
These players have shown that they are capable enough of playing in the first team and against other premier league teams. Sadly, they really only get their chance to play in the first team in cup games against lower league opponents.
It’s very rare to see academy players get playing time in the league, and when they do, it’s usually about 45 minutes or less. But every time these players have been given a chance to play in the first team, they’ve shown pure brilliance on the field.
The last time an academy graduate made it into the first team and stayed in the first team, it was John Terry on Oct. 28, 1998 in a league cup match against Aston Villa.
Since then, he’s made 488 appearances for the first team and has captained the team since the 2004-2005 season. He’s the academy player from the 21st century who has established himself as a vital player for the club. But now, no first team player has made quite the impact Terry has. Why is that?
There have been a select few youth players who have made appearances and really have proven that they can play on the first team. Players like Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Nathaniel Chalobah, Ola Aina, Charly Musonda, Dominic Solanke and Nathan Aké have shown that they have the drive and the playing ability to thrive in the first team. Instead, money and big-name players have seemed to become a priority over youth talent.
Granted, these big-name players have delivered on performances, but this also results in about 40 first team players and youth players being sent out on loan to various teams in England and all around Europe.
In my opinion, as a Chelsea fan, I would like to see my team and other teams in England start relying on their youth talent again, instead of relying on money to draw big-name players to the club.
Big-name players can help the club, but I think it’s time that youth and reserve players get the chances they deserve to help build the future of Chelsea Football Club.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at email@example.com