Where Are They Now ? Chelsea’s 2016 UEFA Youth League Winning Team

Starting XI

Bradley Collins

Saving a penalty in the final, Collins was one of the standout performers of the tournament. Bradley moved up to the U23’s side and then the loan cycle began. Impressive stints at Forest Green and Burton Albion gave a good account of the Englishman and his contract ran out at Chelsea in the summer of 2019. Collins joined Barnsley on a 4 year deal with the option of a further year in June of that year. A steady progression on the goalies career had seen him work his way up from PL2 to League Two to League One and now was at a relatively solid Championship side. The 2020/21 season saw Collins have a stand out year with 9 clean sheets in 22 games. Collins remains at Barnsley and his contract runs out in June 2023.Dujon Sterling

Following an impressive 15/16 campaign, Sterling was promoted to the U23 team and stayed there for the next two years. Sterling’s first loan was to Coventry City in League One and he featured 38 times for the Sky Blues. A loan to Wigan was next and after only featuring 8 times the whole season he stayed at Chelsea for the 20/21 season and played in the PL2. Sterling signed a 2 year contract extension and headed out on loan to Blackpool for the current season. The 22-year-old has featured 8 times so far and has featured at right back and even centre back for the Seasiders.

Fikayo Tomori

Two quite forgettable loan spells followed the triumphant UEFA Youth League 2016 with Brighton and Hull. Two clubs you wouldn’t even know he had played for if you weren’t an avid follower of Tomori in 2016 and 2017. In 18/19 the best loan spell of Tomori’s career started at Derby under Frank Lampard. He played 44 games and became regarded as one of the Championships best young defenders. We know the story of Tomori after this, plays amicably for a while and unfortunately became out of favour. A loan to AC Milan followed and they ended up paying around £25m to sign him on a permanent basis. Tomori is now playing week in week out in Serie A and AC Milan currently sit top of the league.

Jake Clarke-Salter

Injuries hampered Clarke-Salter at his first loan spell at Bristol Rovers and within the next few years, he would go out on loan to Sunderland, Vitesse and Birmingham. Clarke-Salter is currently at Coventry for the 21/22 season and has started 12 out of the 21 games in the Championship this year. The centre backs contract runs out in 2022 and what happens next for Clarke-Salter after his loan is still unknown. Ola Aina

Aina featured for a grand total of 23 minutes in the 16/17 Premier League campaign and then was subsequently loaned out to Hull in the 17/18 season. A monumental, breakout campaign happened for Aina as he featured 46 times for The Tigers. This notable loan spell attracted the interest of foreign outfits and Torino loaned in Aina for the 18/19 season. Aina showed his versatility by playing in a wide variety of positions including left back, right back and right midfield in his 30 appearances in the league. A clause in the contract meant Torino activated a £9m buy-out clause and signed Ola Aina. In 19/20 Torino finished 16th and they decided to loan out Ola Aina for the 20/21 season to Fulham. Aina played 31 times for the below average Fulham side and they eventually finished 18th and got relegated. Arriving back to Torino at the start of this season, Aina has played 15 times for the Italian club so far in 21/22.

Jacob Maddox

Maddox hovered around the development squad in the 16/17 season and 17/18 and then headed out on loan to Cheltenham Town in the 18/19 season. He played over 40 times in a very fruitful loan spell. Maddox’s next loan spell was a let down and he never featured in the league in the four months he spent at Tranmere Rovers. Two months later he signed on loan for Southampton. Maddox featured twice for Southampton in PL2 before returning to Chelsea. In the summer of 2020 Maddox departed from Chelsea after seven years and joined Vitória S.C. on a four year deal. Maddox is currently on loan at Burton Albion.

Charlie Colkett

Colkett followed Clarke-Salter on loan at Bristol Rovers but a lack of playing time around the Christmas period saw him recalled in January and sent to another League One club Swindon Town. Colkett performed admirably in this loan spell and fetched himself 1 goal and 5 assists in 19 appearances. The summer of 2017 saw Colkett make the inevitable trip to Vitesse and yet again due to a lack of game time and an injury, the loan was terminated in January. Another disappointing loan spell occurred in the 18/19 season when Colkett only played 6 times for Shrewsbury. Following a common theme, the loan was terminated in January and Colkett departed Chelsea for Ostersunds for what was described as a “small fee”. Colkett seems to be enjoying life in Ostersunds and has already racked up 60+ appearances for the Swedish side.

Mukhtar Ali

Following a stunning 15/16 season where he was nominated for International Somali Sportsman of the Year, Mukhtar Ali joined Vitesse on loan in January 2017. Ali only made 6 appearances for Vitesse but that was enough for the Dutch club to pay around £500k to sign him on a three year deal. Ali barely featured again for Vitesse and joined Al-Nassr in 2019. Ali’s contract runs out in June 2022.

Kyle Scott

Kyle Scott hovered around the first team in 16/17 and the 17/18 season and made his first and only appearance against Hull in the 5th round of the FA Cup, playing 28 minutes. In July of 2018, Kyle joined SC Telestar on loan and he returned to Chelsea in December of that same year. Following his release by Chelsea, he reportedly turned down a move to Barcelona and joined Newcastle. In his two years at the club he never managed to make an appearance for the first team and departed to FC Cincinnati after impressing on trial.

Kasey Palmer

After signing a new contract in early 2016, Palmer arrived at Huddersfield for his first taste of professional football. Palmer made 32 appearances and helped Huddersfield to promotion by scoring 4 times and assisting 3 in the League. A lack of football in the Premier League led Palmer to relocate to Derby on loan. Halfway through the season Palmer relocated yet again to Blackburn for the second half of 18/19. His next loan to Bristol City earned him a permanent move for around £3.5m. Palmer is having a rough time at Bristol City and rumours state he could depart the club in January as he has only featured in one match day squad since October.

Tammy Abraham

An 18-year-old Tammy Abraham made the bold move to join Bristol City on loan in the Championship. Abraham had one of the biggest breakout seasons in English football, finishing second top scorer in the Championship with 23 goals, winning Bristol City Player of the Year, Young Player of the Year and the clubs overall top goal scorer. Loans don’t come much better than that and Tammy soon found out with a poor loan campaign at Swansea. A steep learning curve to young Tammy’s career saw him net just 5 times in 31 games. A fruitful loan spell back in the Championship at Aston Villa yet again saw Tammy finish second in the scoring charts for the League. His 25 goals and 3 assists helped secure Aston Villa promotion to the Premier League.

With Lampard in charge of Chelsea in 19/20 it was time for the resurgence of youth and Tammy was at the helm. 15 Goals for his first season in a competitive Premier League side set him up for good things come the 20/21 season. However, we all know the story of the lack of playing time and a bad run of form that spelt an end to Tammy’s Chelsea career. Mourinho made the Englishman his number one target for the transfer window and Tammy departed for £34m to Roma. Abraham has racked up 10 goals and 2 assists in 22 appearances for the Italian side so far in his first campaign at the club.

Substitutes

Nathan Baxter

Baxter has worked his way up from the likes of Metropolitan Police in the Isthmian League to Hull in the Championship. Keeping clean sheets and making saves is common nature for Baxter now and he is an unsung hero of the loan army this year.

Jay Dasilva

A player who always caught the eye as a youth talent, now has 2 years left on his contract at Bristol City.

Trevoh Chalobah

A Lorient loan in 20/21 caught the eye of Thomas Tuchel who has utilised the Englishman seamlessly into his back three system. Looking like a man who has played Premier League Football for a decade, the potential Chalobah possesses is off the scales.

Ruben Sammut

Last playing for Dulwich Hamlet after a disappointing spell at Sunderland, Sammut has found another way to stay connected with the world of football. Sammut is now a First Team Recruitment Coordinator at Charlton and has been there since the Summer of this year.

Charlie Wakefield

Wakefield has had stints with Coventry, Wealdstone and Bromley after leaving Chelsea and now plays his football in the National League with Yeovil Town.

Isaac Christie-Davies

Isaac Christie-Davies departed Chelsea and joined Liverpool at the end of the 17/18 season. An unsuccessful loan spell at Cercle Brugge saw him released and he is now playing for Dunajská Streda in Slovakia on loan from Barnsley.

Mason Mount

Mount has now played over 80 times for Chelsea and has become a fan favourite at the club. 6 Goals and 4 Assists in 13 Premier League games this season means Mount is undoubtedly on track to shatter his previous seasons in terms of output. The sky is the limit for Chelsea’s number 19.

Written by Frankie

The 16-Year-Old Genius In Chelsea’s Academy

Tudor Mendel-Idowu is a 16-year-old, left footed attacker that can operate on the flanks or centrally. Tudor has recently signed a scholarship with Chelsea but he has not let this get in the way of his educational ambitions. You would think that a player at one of the best academies in the world would pack it all in education wise and focus on football but with Tudor that is not the case…

The Slough born teenager attends Eton College alongside a presumably tough schedule that he has to maintain for Chelsea. Eton is notorious in England for being one of the top academic private schools and its exceptional students that get the highest grades. Eton is commonly found among the top 10 ranked colleges in England which means Tudor is literally in the best of both worlds. Elite facilities at Cobham with some of the best coaches in the nation and also receiving some of the best teaching in the world when he’s not playing football.

The mindset of Tudor must be astounding for his age, being able to keep up with the seemingly impossible task of maintaining grades at Eton whilst being 1 of 10 boys selected to receive a scholarship for 2021/22 at Chelsea.

Tudor’s academic promise has been evident since the early 2010’s, with an 8-year-old Tudor featuring on Channel 4’s show ‘Child Genius’ and placing second where he went up against other children much older than him.

His academic abilities did not plateau there as now at Eton he studies a wide variety of subjects including English, Greek, Latin, German, Maths and Physics.

Tudor has been with Chelsea since under-8’s and has been regularly featuring for the Blues since the under-9 age group. Whilst playing for Chelsea, Tudor has been apart of England training camps all the way up to under-15 level. Tudor is also eligible for Nigeria and the English FA appeared to up their attempts of persuading him to play for England in 2019.

Tudor has a 2 year scholarship with the club that runs out after the 2022/23 season, it will be interesting to see whether his contract gets extended as the records of matches that he has played in seems to be a bit sparse.

Image Source : Chelsea FC

However, this is the final step before a pro contract for these scholars including Tudor and will be interesting to see how his career pans out. He is in the classic dilemma of studies or football, many youngsters are faced with this challenge and it seems at the moment Tudor has taken the rare option of both and is excelling.

Written by Frankie

Chelsea 2-1 Bournemouth Match Review:

Preseason gives eager fans around the world chance to see talent – both young and old – given the rare opportunity to impress before the campaign gets underway. With the European Championships and Copa America delaying the return of the bulk of Chelsea’s regular playing squad (17 players were present at these competitions: the most of any European club!), fans would be forgiven for struggling to recognise a few faces!

The line-up featured the unusual midfield pivot of Danny Drinkwater and Connor Gallagher, ahead of a back three of Dujon Sterling, Lewis Baker (now 26 years old!) and Malang Sarr (back from a season-long loan at Porto). The more familiar faces of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, Kepa Arrizabalaga, Marcos Alonso and – to the excitement of this writer – Tammy Abraham also appeared from the start. This mix of established international stars, youngsters trying to force their way into Thomas Tuchel’s thinking and Danny Drinkwater got off to an excellent start, dominating their Championship opponents in the first half.

As early on as the seventh minute Hudson-Odoi was able to confirm that he was – as speculated in training – back to his very best, playing a beautiful ball over the top for Pulisic, who would have been in on goal were it not for a poor touch. As the game wore on we were given a glimpse of the ball of energy that is Connor Gallagher, as he made a lovely sliding interception as well as an important, bustling challenge on the edge of his own box. Marcos Alonso was also twice involved in the game’s early incidents: first making a crucial sliding block to deny former Blue Dominic Solanke when through on goal, then blasting a free kick into the wall from his favoured position.

Plenty of fringe players were hoping to impress the new German manager of the year. Photo credit: football.london

The first half featured a wide-ranging display of the often forgotten about Danny Drinkwater’s passing ability, as the £40 million flop sprayed 40 yard cross field balls at will, one of which found Hudson-Odoi who collected brilliantly and beat his man before finding Abraham with a beautiful cut-back. Abraham’s finish, however, was straight at the keeper. Hudson-Odoi was a continual thorn in Bournemouth’s side as he later linked up well with Ziyech as the Moroccan picked out an excellent Abraham run in behind, with the England international’s tame shot saved. Shortly after this Ziyech found Abraham’s head with a lovely, clipped ball from the right but the effort was just wide. This capped an excellent first half for the Blues, with the intensity of pressing and the sharp linkup between attackers a real positive, as well as the industry and distribution of Sarr and Baker standing out.

The second half naturally brought with it a raft of changes as Tuchel gave everyone a chance to impress. Early on in the half Gallagher was sloppy in possession and was punished by David Brooks, who tackled him and fired his shot wide as the intimidating presence of substitute Eduoard Mendy bore down on him. Ross Barkley and Ruben Loftus-Cheek – two international midfielders desperate to regain their places in this Chelsea side – shone after coming on, full of sharp turns (from the former) and surging runs forwards (from the latter) as the Blues commanded the middle of the park.

Chelsea’s dominance could not stop them falling behind in the 66th minute however, as Zappacosta was caught sleeping by a sharp cutback which was converted by the head of Marcondes. There had been warning signs: two corners that were not dealt with as well as a phenomenal Mendy save, and now Chelsea had work to do. However, just six minutes later Baba-Rahman galloped down the left flank, and despite losing possession after a heavy touch he was able to win the ball back and exchange passes with Loftus-Cheek before whipping in a delightful cross which Broja had time to chest down and finish into the roof of the net. This was an exciting sight for Chelsea fans keen to see their youngsters progress and following his debut senior season – where he netted a fantastic 10 goals from 21 starts in the Eredivisie for Vitesse Arnhem – there is optimism amongst some that the Albanian could be an option up front next season.

Broja lit up the second half with his energetic pressing and was rewarded with a well-taken goal. Photo credit: We Ain’t Got No History

Four minutes after Broja levelled it was the turn of another exciting, young Chelsea number 9 to score what proved to be the winner. Ike Ugbo met Barkley’s excellent in-swinging corner at the front post to seal a brilliant preseason win for the Blues. Ugbo has attracted a wide range of suitors after his amazing stint at Cercle Bruges last season, where he netted 16 times in 32 starts in Belgium’s top-flight. During a tricky time for the academy, it was fitting that two young stars who have risen through the ranks at Cobham were the scorers today and hopefully they are both given a chance by their parent club to shine on a bigger stage.

There was a lot to take away from this game. Positives included Abraham’s intelligent movement despite a lack of gametime since the turn of the year, Loftus-Cheek’s sharpness following a difficult spell at Fulham and the link-up between Ziyech and Hudson-Odoi down Chelsea’s right. The team pressed excellently – as demonstrated in the 75th minute as Broja showed his incredible speed to shut down the Bournemouth keeper and nearly deflect his long ball into the back of his own net – and were well organised (except from set pieces!) throughout.

It is difficult to draw anything from preseason games – especially ones where half of the squad are absent – but the players on the fringes of the first team performed brilliantly and players with a point to prove really stepped up. Next up: Arsenal….

Written by Daniel New

Can Marc Guehi Break Into The Senior Team Next Season?

With the imminent departure of Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea, the lack of young defenders from the academy ready for first team football is sparse. The likes of Xavier Mbuyamba and Dynel Simeu have been proven at the U23 level, however their lack of first team football and senior experience greatly reduces their chance at featuring for the first team in any capacity. Chelsea have four centre backs in the senior squad for now and the formation we are now playing in seems to include three centre backs. Azpilicueta has been featuring in the right centre back role, which sums up how much Tuchel trusts his centre backs to do a job. A player with experience at a fairly high level and with bundles of talent could be the spark needed to encourage performances to improve.

Marc Guehi fits the spectrum of this kind of player perfectly. The 20 year old is currently on loan to Swansea, who impressively sit 3rd place in the Sky Bet Championship. This season Marc has played 25 times for Swansea in the league (starting all of these 25 matches). Helping the Swans to 12 clean sheets as of this moment. Guehi has also amassed 1.7 interceptions per game, 1.8 tackles per game and 2.8 clearances per game. The Englishman is unlike the other loanees from Chelsea in the championship regarding minutes. Compared to Jake Clarke-Salter, who is also on loan in the Championship with Birmingham, Guehi has played over 1600 minutes more. Guehi only featured twice for the senior blues before his move and he started and played 90 minutes in both of these appearances. Although these games were in the EFL Cup last year, he proved he could perform at the highest level as he played admirably against Manchester United in a controversial 2-1 loss at Stamford Bridge.

Guehi is on the shorter side of centre backs in comparison to the rest of the Championship and for most leagues in general. Standing at around 5″10, Marc definitely is not known for his size and aerial abilities. However, for what he lacks in height he certainly makes up for it in speed, anticipation and versatility. His concentration and awareness are main parts of his game and severely outweigh his lack of aerial dominance.

Marc’s tactical versatility and ability to play anywhere across the backline could be of massive benefit to Chelsea. At just 20 years old, the range of different positions Guehi has featured in throughout his career is astounding. This season, Guehi has been featuring mainly as a left sided centre back in a 3 at the back formation. This is impressive as Guehi feels comfortable and is trusted enough on the left side of the defence, despite being right footed. Being able to play a wide variety of positions is useful to everyone and proves that he has the ability to play right at the top level.

At Swansea, Marc is being managed by Steve Cooper. Steve was Guehi’s manager for the infamous England U17 World Cup winning team in 2017. Cooper has a great understanding of Guehi’s ability and puts a lot of trust in these skills. Guehi also scored the final goal in a 5-2 drubbing of Spain’s U17 in the final to secure the trophy.

Having played 28 times this season in the Championship, Swansea have conceded the fewest amount of goals this season at just 15 and also have the most amount of clean sheets, also at 16. A whopping 57% of Swansea’s matches this season in the championship have resulted in a clean sheet for Swansea. There is no doubt that acquiring Guehi on loan this season was tremendous business by the Swans as he has helped massively by starting in over 88% of their Championship matches.

Guehi has played with numerous different players within the two other centre back slots this season. Steve Cooper is very indecisive about his defensive options and struggles to pick the same three centre backs consistently. However, Guehi has solidified his place in the starting lineup due to his impressive performances. Guehi’s defensive partner at the start of the season was Joe Rodon. He found a move away from the Swans to Chelsea rivals Tottenham. Rodon has found himself on the brink of starting and has featured in the Premier League 7 times this season. Marc has also featured alongside other Premier League veterans in Ryan Bennett and Kyle Naughton during his ongoing spell at Swansea. The experienced gained from long time professionals and defenders with Premier League game time could be vital to Guehi’s development and future as a Premier League defender.

Marc Guehi will be coming back from Swansea with a wealth of great experience and solid minutes in a tough league under his belt, hopefully gearing him up for fighting for a place in the Chelsea team. Many people seem to think that Marc Guehi is “the best defender in the Championship” and it will be an exciting challenge I’m sure he’s ready for, to compete in the biggest league in the world.

We can assume that Ethan Ampadu, currently on loan at Sheffield United, will also be returning to Stamford Bridge along with Guehi and I personally think they have a high chance of playing some regular football next season. Ampadu has also been utilised in the left side of a back 3 (similarly to Guehi) this season after a dip in performances in the defensive midfield role.

Tuchel has already proven 3 games into his reign that he is not scared to play the youth and introduce them when he feels they are ready. Tuchel was a main part of Christian Pulisic’s uprising at Dortmund and hopefully he can utilise the talent that Guehi evidently has and turn him into a great Premier League centre back. Guehi’s ability on the ball could also be a driving factor in the amount of minutes he plays as Tuchel has made it obvious that he is not a fan of Zouma’s technical ability, especially on the ball.

It will be important for the club and Guehi himself that we avoid another Fikayo Tomori situation. Losing another young, promising centre back that excelled in the championship could be a big blow to a whole range of factors. Many of the centre backs coming through the ranks in our academy will feel that they are not going to get the chance to play for the first team regularly if we fail to incorporate Marc into our first team setup, following the demise of Tomori at Chelsea.

Guehi’s loan at Swansea expires at the end of the season, hopefully giving him the chance to adjust to Tuchel’s philosophy throughout pre season and get used to his team mates. If Chelsea fail to sign Upamecano, Boateng or fail to recall Tomori, Guehi should definitely be given the chance to prove himself in the Premier League.

Written by Frankie