Chelsea vs Brentford in the Carabao Cup Quarter Finals – both squads fully depleted due to injuries and COVID – most would ask: “who cares?”. I can tell you right now, I definitely care, a lot of people at The Chelsea Spot care, but most importantly the academy players and staff care.
As revealed by ourselves in the last two days on our Twitter page, many academy boys have joined the first team training, with Monday’s sessions including most of the 23s, and Tuesday’s late night session involving Charlie Webster & Jude Soonsup-Bell too (Trevoh Chalobah joined as well).
Understandably, a lot of the fanbase won’t know who half of these names are and there isn’t any shame in that either! So, in this article, I will go through each player who has BEEN PICTURED training in the last two days, and discuss their style of play as well as their chances of making the squad tomorrow (will give a rating out of 10 considering there are 5 spots available).
Josh is a RCB (in our setup). This season he’s looked pretty good, with his positional awareness and pace being of real use at RCB to cover any last-man tackles and also his incredible overlapping ability. Many may have seen him get a red card against Manchester United at Stamford Bridge, and even though it was a dangerous tackle, he was actually having an impressive game beforehand and it was nice to see some tenacity. 4/10 chance of making the squad imo.
Alfie also a RCB. Unfortunately overhyped by a Chelsea scout in the media recently being compared to John Terry, he still has had an impressive season so far. Last season he was a big player for the U18s and showed his leadership qualities, getting some minutes towards the U23s at the end of the season and this season has managed to captain the FA Youth Cup side and also play a few more U23s game. 5/10 chance of making the squad imo.
Dion’s a RWB/RW. Blistering pace, incredible skills and loves a nutmeg. He was kind of inconsistent last season, but he was also chucked around at LWB and couldn’t really settle in a position, so he certainly has an excuse. This season he’s improved with that heavily and is a constant outlet for our team to get in behind. Unfortunately, if Reece and Azpilicueta travel, I’m not sure he’s got much chance of making it, but we’ll have to see. 3/10 imo.
Midfielder. If you don’t know about Xavier…then he’s certainly had an interesting story. Moving from Brentford a of couple years ago when they decided to switch from the academy to the B team, he looked a promising player at the time and built a wonderful midfield partnership with Lewis Bate. However, luck wasn’t on his side as he injured his knee and required surgery, and not long after that required surgery in the other knee too! In what would have been a hard place to be mentally, he has come back very strong and become a real leader in this squad – with his qualities still being shown constantly. 5/10 imo.
Midfielder/LWB. Been one of our best performers in the academy this season, which is incredibly impressive. Last season featuring for our U18s, he has made the huge jump into the 23s this season and has played with such ease. Originally a midfielder, his driving runs forward have been amazing to watch with his strength and passing being a key part of his game, except this season he’s played more at LWB and has looked brilliant there too. You know how Reece comes into midfield from the RWB role for Chelsea and just shrugs everyone off? Yeah, Lewis does a pretty similar job for our 23s. 7/10 chance of making the squad.
Striker. Jay’s an interesting one. He moved from Woking in the Summer to Chelsea, and was always going to find it a proper challenge with Bryan Fiabema and Jude Soonsup-Bell ahead of him. However, he has taken on the challenge really well and whenever got minutes normally found the back of the net. His movement is very impressive, he works hard for the team, and surprisingly despite his height he wins a lot of headers too. If Jude hadn’t returned to training today I would’ve backed him to be in the squad, so I’ll say a 6/10.
Attacker. Joe’s that attacking midfielder who just glides with the ball and is a proper joy to watch when he’s on the pitch. As I’ve said before, me and a couple of guys who watch the academy regularly really like to compare his style of play to Joe Cole. Unfortunately for him, the wide attackers are probably going to be pretty stacked with Ziyech, Pulisic, Mount and someone else (who I’ll come onto later) being ahead of him, but in terms of football ability he definitely could be there. 4/10.
Attacker/LWB. If Harvey isn’t in the squad, I would be extremely shocked and disappointed. He has trained with the first team already this season and made the bench, when he probably should’ve come on the pitch anyway in the Carabao Cup RO16. He’s been our best player this season in the academy, with him enjoying the wide forward role with his sweet left foot, and him playing at LWB last season also increases his chances of playing tomorrow. I genuinely think we could see him start. 9/10 chance of making the squad, and a 6/10 chance of starting tomorrow.
Striker. I’m not going into JSB too much, because we’ve done a whole podcast on him with his brother Zac which you can listen to for free! Just click on the hyperlink before, or the Spotify player down below. With no first team striker being available, I also think he has a pretty good chance of making the squad tomorrow. 7/10 chance of making the squad.
Midfielder. I don’t think there’s any harm in saying Charlie has struggled at times throughout this season for the 23s and has hence played a few more games for the 18s, but then again his performances in the UEFA Youth League have been brilliant and he does also have the likes of George McEachran, Lewis Baker and Xavier Simons ahead of him in the Development Squad which does make life harder for him.
Despite that, the potential is so so clear to see and I don’t think many would disagree by saying he is the most “talented” player in this whole article! His body feints are truly wonderful and is on a very similar level to what we see from Mateo Kovacic on a weekly basis, so I’ve got no doubt Tuchel would have loved him in training today. I think due to his raw talent and a couple midfielders being out he’s definitely got a decent chance of making the squad tomorrow, but it also depends on whether Tuchel prefers someone who he’s seen on both days…I’ll go with a 5/10.
Midfielder. To finish off, we have George. He was a big part of Jody Morris’ midfield back in the day, as he normally had Billy Gilmour and Conor Gallagher infront of him, while George acted as the ‘regista’ and would concentrate on keeping the ball moving about. He’s had experience out on loan which may give him the nod over others for Tuchel, but I’m going to give his chance of making the squad a 5/10 too, so then it’s equally likely for Thomas to choose one of George/Xavier/Charlie 😇.
Maybe there are less than 5 spots available, in which it makes the cut even tougher. There could even be more for all we know! What we do know though, is that the Chelsea boys would’ve loved training with the first team today and would’ve strived on the opportunity which was given to them, and hopefully a couple do the same tomorrow night and make a name for themselves for the right reasons.
If you’ve got any other questions on the academy, make sure to ask us on our social media platforms!
Written by Paree