Jose To Play The Kids?
There is a lot of talk at the moment among Chelsea fans about Jose staring to play the kids. If you look on the various chat rooms, blogs...
There is a lot of talk at the moment among Chelsea fans about Jose staring to play the kids. If you look on the various chat rooms, blogs and podcasts of Chelsea supporters it is one of the hot topics at the moment. One reason for this is the fact that the top players are currently significantly under performing and another is because of words that have come direct from Jose.
There have been 2 separate quotes from Jose, the first one is quote vague when it comes to actually playing young players more:
"If the season goes in one direction that it becomes closed, and we can't win, I will go just with the kids. It makes no sense when you have nothing to win to play the older players. I'll play the players we are waiting for instead. I will arrive in a moment where I will look to the kids and say, "lets go, non stop". I am ruthless, but at the moment everything is open."
I think it would be fair to say that every Chelsea fan already concedes that we will not be winning the title this season. So does that mean that Jose will play the kids? I don't think so because we need to fight for top four which is still a very real possibility. If Jose does stay true to these words do not expect it to be until we are mathematically out of the title race and secured top four or if we are mathematically out of the top four.
That being said I do not believe that Jose should just chuck a load of young players in, there are ways to bring through young players in a right way and in a controlled manner to develop their skills as senior players, and that brings me on to a player who has been handled the right way and is the player who could really benefit from the current situation.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek has been a player that is gradually being more game and now has a good number of senior minutes under his belt. He is a player who can physically cope with the senior game and has shown on numerous occasions now his ability to play at this level. Ruben can take this opportunity to work himself into much more game time. Our midfield is clearly an issue at the moment and Ruben could be the one to help stabilize things, played alongside Matic we could look much stronger. However played alongside Fabregas he could find himself in the same position Matic is in being overrun.
Jose has made a bold statement in the wake of the Southampton game on Ruben:
"Clearly it is time. Not to play Four, Five or six kids - some are not ready - but Ruben is a case where he is more ready, and if everything goes normal during the next 2 weeks he's a player to start the next game and a run of matches, to try and get that stability as a first team choice."
So Jose will start Ruben against Aston Villa he has said. We will see if that actually happens and if it does that would be a good thing for the development of Ruben. However as I have already said above, my concern would be if he plays alongside Fabregas in a midfield 2 as I feel Fabregas in that role is one of our biggest issues at the moment.
So with the positive of Loftus-Cheek looking to get more game time who are the other "kids" to be in line for game time. This question is one of the other issues with this question of game time for youngsters in that there are not many young players ready for this level of football. At the moment within the squad is Bertrand Traore, a very talented young man who has featured very little so far this season. He could be in for some more minutes but his best position when playing for Vitesse has been as a striker and I cannot see Jose playing him there, as a wide man he is still a good player but through the middle is where he is best used. Kenedy is another young player who has already had some good game time and could see himself feature more however both Kenedy and Traore have Hazard, Willian, Pedro and Oscar to contend with.
Outside of the first team squad there experience is just not there, with all the players we have out on loan currently we play with a very young U21's squad with and average age of between 18 and 19 and a very young U18's squad with an average age of under 17. The main contenders who could move up and find themselves with minutes from the academy teams are Ola Aina who has been with the first team quite a lot already this season. A right back who is strong, very good at getting forward and good on the ball. The downside of Aina is he is still learning his game and is prone to basic errors, he will try the harder things sometimes rather than the easy ball.
Charly Musonda is another player on the verge, hugely talented and seemed destined for a loan this season but the decision was made to keep him here for another year. He has been absolutely tearing the U21's league apart this season with some top performances and his ability on the ball is frightening sometimes. However inconsistency is his downfall but I would be interested to see what he can do in a first team appearance.
Beyond them you are looking at Jay DaSilva and quality left back who has been filling in midfield for the U21's so far this season, but his size will hold him back from first team minutes at the moment. Tammy Abraham is a top center forward who loves to score goals and does it very well, he is strong and fast but he is still quite raw and his ability to bring others into play is not to the level of the likes of Dom Solanke currently out on loan.
So to sum up, Jose say that the time may be upon us where younger players get some games. For me this means primarily Ruben Loftus-Cheek and I think that the opportunity could well be there for him to force his way in and that would be terrific. I would not expect to see much more other than a few more appearances from Kenedy. This is still a very positive thing for our ability to bring through youngsters but lets see now how Jose lives up to what he has said.