Academy: Missing Players and Jose's Promise
With all the players returning to Pre Season minus the players who competed in the World Cup all ...
With all the players returning to Pre Season minus the players who competed in the World Cup all the players settled into their groups. A very young U18's group, a young U21's group including some regulars like Loftus-Cheek, Kiwomya and Alex Davey and a large chunk of young players joining up with the senior players at training.
However it seemed that there was a fourth group. There was a group of players comprised of mainly players who had been out on loan that did not seem to be anywhere, they did not show up in the first team training group as you would maybe expect and they did not appear in the first U21's pre season friendly. That group of players was players like Patrick Van Aanholt, Josh McEachran, Ryan Bertrand, Islam Feruz, Billy Clifford , Marko Marin and Gael Kakuta.
For this group of players it was almost like they did not exist within the club, none of them were due to stay away longer due to international commitments and you would have thought that all of them would have been involved with first team pre season training. However they have had younger players, much younger players, chosen ahead of them. No matter what the actual reason for the exclusion one thing is for sure and that is that it is not a good sign for their futures at Chelsea.
Having said that there is none of those where that comes as a surprise except for Feruz although having struggled for form for a while now still seemed one for the future. Van Aanholt, Bertrand and McEachran probably would have expected first team pre season involvement and so would have Marin. So what does it mean?
There has been unconfirmed report and comments from the players themselves that suggest Billy Clifford, Patrick Van Aanholt and Ryan Betrand will shortly be playing for other clubs, the same is true for Gael Kakuta and Marko Marin whilst Josh McEachran is being linked with a loan to Spain, and even though not much has been said yet Feruz will also likely get a loan. It is unusual that these players have so far been left out but I think we can assume that means something significant on their futures which will lie away from Chelsea.
Some of those players mentioned above did eventually turn up in a Chelsea shirt in last nights U21's Pre Season Friendly against Aldershot. The starting team for that game was, Collins, Dabo, Ssewankambo, Davey, Van Aanholt, Clifford, Palmer, Colkett, Kiwomya, Kakuta and Perica and on the substitute bench was, Musonda, Thompson, Brady, Sammut, Christie-Davies, Ali, Wright and Clarke-Salter.
The game ended in a 3 - 2 win for the young blues despite initially finding themselves 2 - 0 down. Chelsea's first goal was a headed goal scored by Charlie Colkett from an Alex Davey cross a combination you would usually expect to find the other way around. The second was scored by last season loan player Stipe Perica who reacted quickly to a deflection to head home and finally the third was scored by 16 year old Ruben Sammut who scored from close range.
That leaves Chelsea 2 wins out of 2 so far from their pre season games. Next they head out to Austria for their pre season training camp in Salzburg and they will next play on Tuesday week against Red Bull Salzburg, the U18's will also travel to Salzburg after their have played a game today against Luton.
Finally there was positive news from the big man himself and Jose confirmed yesterday that Chelsea's transfer activity was done but what he also said is good news for some youngsters:
"We don't want a squad of only end products. We also want to bring to the first team, three or four under-21s, we are going to develop players and are happy with this balance we have."
Now we will have to wait and see how this bears out in practice because similar bold comments about using youngster was talked about last season also and in practical terms it only meant a couple of appearances for Kalas late on and a few minutes for Baker and Swift. Given the composition of the squad i would imagine that the full back and centre back positions could require added cover as well a striker if Lukaku does indeed move on.
Whatever does end up happening it is good to see Jose still talking in those terms and hopefully really looking to accommodate some younger players within his squad.