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Promising 20-year-old Blues defender heads out on loan

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Chelsea starlet Sam McClelland joins League Two side Barrow on loan.

Chelsea starlet Sam McClelland joins League Two side Barrow on loan 

Northern Ireland and Chelsea defender Sam McClelland is heading to League Two side Barrow on a season-long loan, a statement on the Barrow website confirmed. The 20-year-old played nine games for the Blues’ developmental side last season and captained the team on four occasions. 

McClelland joined the Chelsea academy in 2018 from semi-professional Northern Irish side Coleraine. An impressive debut campaign in Chelsea colours saw him promoted to the Development Squad for 2020/21, with the 6ft 3in defender making 11 Premier League 2 appearances

Chelsea starlet Sam McClelland joins League Two side Barrow on loan.
20-year-old defender Sam McClelland is heading on loan to League Two side Barrow,

The defender has also earned a senior cap for Northern Ireland, making his debut in a friendly match against Ukraine last year. 

This will also be McClelland’s first loan spell away from the club, and his first exposure to senior-level football. This comes right after Chelsea triggered an option to extend his contract, which had been otherwise due to run out at the end of this month. 

Speaking on the acquisition, Barrow manager Pete Wild said:

 “Sam comes highly recommended from both club and country and is at the right stage of his career to experience men’s football.

“We are excited to have him as part of the group and help continue his development as a footballer.”

Chelsea starlet Sam McClelland joins League Two side Barrow on loan.
McClelland has already earned one cap for the Northern Ireland senior team. (Picture by William Cherry/Presseye)

One for the future? 

McClelland is very highly rated within the academy, so it makes perfect sense to send him out on loan whilst also freeing up a spot in the developmental squad. 

The centre-back is still some way from being ready for the first team, and his spell at Barrow will mark the first step in that direction. 

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The likes of Reece James and Mason Mount had to get a number of loan spells under their belt before they were considered ready and look where they are now. 

It’s almost the norm for a Cobham graduate to impress on loan and play regularly and should McClelland achieve that, he could be first-team ready in maybe three or four years. If the rise is meteoric, then maybe even sooner. 

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