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“Worked it out”- Rival legend lauds Chelsea for figuring out how to use academy talent



Trevoh Chalobah scores the opener against Juventus.

Rio Ferdinand praises Chelsea for their success with utilising the academy prospects

According to Daily Mail Online, Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand has praised Chelsea for figuring how to use their academy players within their first team. He spoke following the Blues’ commanding 4-0 win over Juventus in the Champions League.

Graduates like Trevoh Chalobah, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Reece James, Mason Mount and Ruben Loftus-Cheek all featured in the match, picturing the success that the club has had with their academy. Three of them were also on the scoresheet, making it even sweeter for the team.

In the past decade or so, not many Chelsea academy graduates have made it into the first-team set-up. While the Blues have purchased top young talent from European clubs during that stint, seeing a young Chelsea academy graduate stake a claim in the starting XI wasn’t really a very common sight. That has changed now.

Rio Ferdinand lauds Chelsea for their success with utilising the academy prospects. (imago Images)
Rio Ferdinand praises Chelsea for using the prospects. (imago Images)

“For years Chelsea have invested in youth but didn’t have the managers who are as confident as Frank and Thomas now. The odd one might have come in but never stayed around. The first three scorers tonight against Juventus, no mugs, are graduates from the Cobham conveyor belt.”

Ferdinand was full of praises for his former rivals for taking advantage of the talents within the club. He mentioned how it began under Frank Lampard, and Thomas Tuchel has continued the process. He added how the others would feel they have a chance to make it to the first team and, they would stay and fight for their places.

“They’ve persevered and they have worked it out. They are in a positive mindset with it, their youth system looks so clear for them. They can see a pathway to the first team.”

Reece James is an academy graduate.
Reece James is an academy graduate.

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While it is a hard pill to swallow that we didn’t give many chances to our youth players in the past, it is also the truth. Compared to how the graduates have been faring under Tuchel, we could have realised this earlier. Tuchel’s side looks formidable right now, and the youth prospects have played a big role in that.

Even when we bought young talent from other clubs, their chances of making it into the first team were slim. That has seen us lose the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne and Mohamed Salah to other teams. While Lukaku has eventually made his return, it would have been financially sound for us if we did not have to break the bank for him this summer.

Ultimately, what matters is that we are on the right track when it comes to depending on our youth players, and that shall bring us success in the future as well. As the saying goes, “better late than never”, and it clearly applies to this situation.

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