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

Podcast: RLC is BACK and Juventus Preview!

Exclusive Academy Transfer Updates w/Scott Trotter! The Chelsea Spot Podcast

  1. Exclusive Academy Transfer Updates w/Scott Trotter!
  2. Mount shines against Bournemouth & Enzo Fernandez to the Blues?!


In another episode of The Chelsea Spot Podcast, Orlando (Host – @0rland1nho) is joined by his fellow admins Paree (Owner – @CFCParee) & Rob (Admin – @CFCRobL) where they discussed the terrible but expected performance against Manchester City in the League, the rise of Ruben Loftus-Cheek once again. They also look ahead to Wednesday’s Champions League and UEFA Youth League game against Juventus!

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Chelsea Academy 2021/22 Season Preview

Pre-Season has begun and there aren’t that many weeks to go until the beginning of the new season. For Chelsea fans, that tends to be a very exciting time as normally there’s a new manager and a few new signings. This time, there have been 0 signings so far, and we have a manager which has been with us for almost exactly 6 months and has won us a Champions League on the way, so the current feeling is certainly a weird one.

I’ll leave all of that to another writer though. As any loyal fans of myself and The Chelsea Spot would know, we have a huge investment into the academy so in this article we’ll be looking at how the U23s could get on this season. There’ll probably be a better preview from @chelseayouth on thechels.net soon enough so I’d recommend reading that too.

The squad has changed A LOT from last season. We didn’t win anything last season, yet it was one of the most talented groups we have seen in a long time. To be fair, we did expect quite a few to be moving onto professional football this season – it’s just a shame that most are permanently rather than on loan. The likes of Dynel Simeu, Lewis Bate, Myles Peart-Harris, Marcel Lewis & Tino Livramento (set to join Brighton) have all moved on to other clubs, while some such as Henry Lawrence and Levi Colwill have gone on loan. All of these are names which even a partial viewer of the academy will recognise, which does really show some of the big players we have lost this season.

Opinion: Every player is different, the Chelsea first-team pathway is  tough, no blame for those leaving – Talk Chelsea
Only two have remained 😔

That necessarily may not be a bad thing. Yes, there may be a lack of experience at times, and there is a decent chance results don’t go our way in some games (hence I am already predicting a huge out of context cry on Twitter in a few months time from certain fans who don’t watch us when we’re not winning the PL2), but it’s going to be an extremely young squad and the amount they will learn will be incredible. One of the criticisms of the PL2 is that some players stick in there for too long and don’t break into professional football, but for most of these players who will be very young, they’ll generate an incredible learning curve coming up against players who are bigger and stronger than them. Remember when we had Terry, Batshuayi, Rudiger, Hazard and more playing for our development squad to develop fitness? Imagine a team of very young academy boys coming up against players like them – they’ll learn so much.

Chelsea’s first U23s fixture is only a few weeks away, as you can see in the graphic below made by the wonderful @chelseayouth, so let’s have a look at the potential squad we could be using this season…

Note: Chelsea’s first two home games are at Stamford Bridge to make sure to head down and support the boys!

Goalkeepers

Chelsea currently have four goalkeepers who could potentially play for the U23s – Lucas Bergstrom, Teddy Sharman-Lowe, Ethan Wady and Karlo Ziger. Bergstrom has been training with the first team for now just in pre-season, but the imminent arrival of Marcus Bettinelli as third choice keeper into the first team would pretty much destroy any chances of him moving up. Sharman-Lowe and Wady could perhaps try and get gametime somewhere else as we’ve seen them do before. Ziger was someone who was training a lot with the first team last season so where he plays will also be very intriguing. I honestly don’t know too much about the keepers’ situations to say much more.

Defenders

After looking at the defenders we have this season, there is a decent chance that Andy Myers will stick with the 3 at the back formation which he trusted so much last season. The first team playing 3 centre-halves also *could* (considering managers are sacked every 3 years probably not) influence the academy formations as incase anyone does need to step up from the academy, they will be much more used to the system.

Xavier Mbuyamba is the big name which most will be keeping an eye on this season. He’ll certainly want to crack on in the PL2 after looking extremely comfortable in the small amount of games he played towards the end of last season, and he’s one who could potentially move on loan in January if he has a very good six months.

Image
He’s not small…🤣

Sam McClelland is another one who should try to cement a starting place in the team (assuming he doesn’t leave on loan). The Northern Irish international has looked very much in place whenever he’s come into the team, with his height and ability on the ball being of real help to the squad. Bashir Humphreys is another one who featured in the FA Youth Cup team last season and will be wanting to push into the development squad eventually, as well as Alfie Gilchrist who has done very well at the U18s level and participated for a few minutes last season in the 23s.

At wingback, there are a few options with Harvey Vale being the main one after playing a lot there last season, although I would personally love to see him play further forward. Silko Thomas has a chance to push into the team as last season he made an appearance at just the age of 16 and looked promising while picking up a goal and an assist, and we could also see the man with the best smile Alex Kpakpe feature too. Like Vale, some wingers could drop deeper a tad and feauture in the role such as Dion Rankine who did play there last season quite a bit, as well as Nunn, Abu, Andersson, Taurianen and a few more of whom I’m sure I’ll talk about much more later.

Midfielders

The midfielders this season are going to be really fun to watch. Chelsea’s midfield has always been one of the most exciting parts of the teams, with us producing players with the quality of Loftus-Cheek, Mount, Gallagher, Bate etc on a constant basis.

Charlie Webster is next in line with those names and after 6 impressive months with the 23s, he’ll be looking to have a full season in the PL2 and impressing on the big stage at just the tender age of 17. Xavier Simons is a player who many have forgotten, but was once so impressive for us before he got two extremely unfortunate injuries in both his knees. Hopefully, his rehab has gone well and fingers crossed we could see him feature for us this season as the boy has an engine on him.

Joe Haigh’s contract was running out this Summer and his future was in doubt after some Premier League clubs were interested in him, but he eventually signed a two year new deal and will be wanting to impress this season. He’s a player who Chelsea fans will love watching this season as myself and a few other mates have compared his play style very much to Joe Cole. He’s agile and just loves to drive forward with the ball.

Players like George McEachran and Thierno Ballo could be leaving the club this season (either on loan or permanently) which opens up space for someone like Ben Elliot to try and get his footballing career back on track. Ben is someone who is full of talent and earlier on looked a real prospect as he captained multiple England sides, but with harsh injuries he struggled to really develop when expected. There is 100% still a player there and hopefully some football on a higher level will really challenge him and get him playing the level of football we know he can.

Not a bad midfield that…!

Forwards

This is certainly a position we are quite stacked in. For the U23s, I imagine Jude Soonsup-Bell and Bryan Fiabema will be the main two who will play up front, with George Nunn either featuring more at LWB or leaving the club. George unfortunately hasn’t impressed enough in the Striker position and him playing would just hinder Jude and Bryan’s progress there.

Jude hasn’t played for the 23s too much but has been tipped to be a top striker in the future with his large profile being of huge use and him smacking in goals for the other age groups. You can listen to our podcast episode with his brother, Zac, on all things Jude. Bryan played a lot more last season for the 23s and he started off very well with a screamer against Derby coming to mind, but afterwards struggled big time. Both will be hoping to get scoring at the PL2 level.

What an episode that was – so much insight…

Other strikers at the club who are more likely to feature for the U18s include Aleksi Heino who we recently signed (two hours after publishing it looks like he may have joined Wolfsburg), Malik Mothersille who has returned from a season loan at Derby County where he featured 13 times and also Jay Wareham, the new boy from Woking who has impressed in pre-season, who is known to score goals for fun.

Having many forwards at the club could tempt Andy Myers to play two strikers up top this season. It’s something we haven’t seen a lot at Chelsea academy level, but with more centre-backs than fullbacks, a few players who could play wingbacks and only a couple of box to box midfielders the 3-4-1-2 formation could be a real option for the gaffer. It reminds me of when we tried to play Abraham and Solanke together at academy level and a lot of the time Tammy was out wide coming inside. As it is, we all know Chelsea coaches are extremely versatile in which formations they want their teams to play and it’s generally also the most intelligent Chelsea players who can play in multiple different roles, so I’m sure there will be changes to the team and style of play throughout the season.

There is a chance we could see something like the above at times this season…

The UEFA Youth League is returning this season as well (touchwood) and despite it being an U19 competition, we’re still likely to enter the cup with a young squad. That and the Papa John’s Trophy (Checkatrade Trophy) should be an incredible experience for the boys, and I have no doubts there’ll be many scouts watching so it’s a chance for them to impress the world as we’ve seen so many Chelsea boys do in the past.

While writing this, I’ve realised that there isn’t actually much to say on the U18s because half of them will be moving up to the 23s, and the other half I haven’t watched enough to comment on. Putting too much pressure on 16 year olds would be harsh for me to do, but all I’m going to say is watch out for Leo Castledine. He featured for the 18s a decent amount last season at just the age of 15, so he’s got a real chance of pushing on this season.

I’m really looking forward to this season. Like I said before, at times results may not be going our way and things to the average viewer may look bad for the academy, but there is a lot of context to this upcoming season and hopefully these players can use it to really develop mentally and technically. We’ll be covering the academy in huge depth this season so make sure to follow us on all our social media platforms and tune in! You can listen to our academy season review and preview with Joe Tweedie here:

The season preview is towards the end of the episode…

Written by Paree