Premier League: Can Chelsea achieve top-flight success with academy products?


Frank Lampard was announced as Chelsea manager on 4 July – can he get the best out of the club's young players?

Frank Lampard's appointment as a manager at Chelsea could point to a new focus on youth development at Stamford Bridge.

January 6th, 2010 – The only fresh face in the season – the only fresh face in the squad.

That squad will be without the talents of Eden Hazard, following his move to Real Madrid.

Chelsea, who went to Everton, Tammy Abraham, who won a promotion with Aston Villa and Michy Batshuayi, who was at Crystal Palace.

So is there evidence that Chelsea-produced players can have an impact on the Premier League?

How did Chelsea's use of academy products appear among top six clubs?

Chelsea finished third in the Premier League last season, 26 points behind champions Manchester City, but just six points ahead of sixth placed Manchester United.

Maurizio Sarri, Lampard's predecessor, won the Europa League, but struggled to meet the fans' demands when it came to home-grown talent.

Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are two of the hottest prospects at Stamford Bridge, but the former was limited to just four league starts, while the latter made six.

Andreas Christensen was the only other academy graduate to feature in the Premier League. However, Chelsea's promotion of youth was the worst in the top flight.

The last few academy graduates they used.

Promoting youth in the Premier League
Club Number of academy graduates used Premier League position
Manchester United 8 (Paul Pogba, Scott McTominay, Jesse Lingard, Marcus Rashford, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Mason Greenwood, James Garner) 6
Arsenal 6 (Hector Bellerin, Alex Iwobi, Ainsley Maitland-Niles, Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, Bukayo Saka) 5
Tottenham 5 (Harry Winks, Harry Kane, Oliver Skipp, Luke Amos, Kyle Walker-Peters) 4
Chelsea 3 (Callum Hudson-Odoi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen) 3
Liverpool 2 (Trent Alexander-Arnold, Rafael Camacho) 2
Manchester City 1 (Phil Foden) 1

Chelsea will be waiting for the next club, as Christensen remains at the club and Loftus-Cheek has signed a five-year deal, but Lampard will have to convince Hudson-Odoi his future is brightest at the Bridge, with Bayern Munich reportedly still interested in the 18-year-old.

Do Chelsea graduates have an impact elsewhere?

Since Roman Abramovich's arrival at Stamford Bridge in 2003, the Chelsea academy has developed into one of the most prolific youth set-ups in European football.

The Blues won their first FA Youth Cup final for almost 50 years in 2009-10, before winning six of the next nine finals, including a run of five successive titles.

However, the Russian dynasty has been criticized in recent years, and consequently, moving away permanently or on loan deals in search of regular football.

The influence of Chelsea-nurtured youngsters was felt across the Premier League last season, with 15 players who had been at the Blues academy appearing for other Premier League sides -more than any other club's academy.

Previously on the books at Chelsea
Player Club (2018-19) League appearances
Eddie Nketiah Arsenal 5
Nathan Ake Bournemouth 38
Dominic Solanke Bournemouth 10
Chris Mepham Bournemouth 13
Jack Cork Burnley 37
Johann Berg Gudmundsson Burnley 29
Neil Etheridge Cardiff City 38
Patrick van Aanholt Crystal Palace 36
Ryan Bertrand Southampton 24
Kayne Ramsay Southampton 1
Michael Obafemi Southampton 6
Callum Slattery Southampton 3
Nathaniel Chalobah Watford 9
Domingos Quina Watford 8
Declan Rice West Ham 34

Only Manchester United had more graduates in the Premier League (20) last season, although eight of them were still at Old Trafford.

In total, players who have been at the Blues Academy played 22.445 Premier League for the other 19 teams in 2018-19, the highest contribution from any academy, which suggests Chelsea players can have an impact in the top flight.

Which youngsters could Lampard turn to?

In his first news conference, Lampard spoke about "dangling the carrot" to motivate and reward his young players for their attitude and endeavor.

I know who could emerge and bridge the gap to the senior side?

Mason Mount made 44 appearances for Derby County last season
Mason Mount
Nationality: Inglese Position: midfielder Age: 20

Central midfielder Mason Mount has recently signed a five-year contract extension, suggesting Lampard expects the midfielder to be an integral part of the club's future.

The England Under-21 international plays in his manager's mold with excellent technical ability and attacking ability from midfield, scoring 11 goals in an influential role under Lampard with Championship play-off finalists Derby last term.

He also scored in the Blues' pre-season victory over St Patrick's Athletic in Dublin after ghosting in behind the opposition defense.

Tammy Abraham won promotion to the Premier League on loan with Aston Villa in 2018-19
Tammy Abraham
Nationality: Inglese Position: Striker Age: 21

Following the departures of strikers Alvaro Morata and Gonzalo Higuain, England Under-21 forward Tammy Abraham could fill the void in attack.

The 6ft 3in striker scored 26 goals as Aston Villa returned to the Premier League last season, beating Lampard's Derby in the final play-off.

Abraham, 21, is a less experienced option than Olivier Giroud (32) and Michy Batshuayi (25), but former Chelsea midfielder Pat Nevin believes he is only "likely to improve as those others age".

Fikayo Tomori played under Lampard at Derby
Fikayo Tomori
Nationality: Inglese Position: Defender Age: 21

Like Mount, Fikayo Tomori played under Lampard at Derby last season, making 55 appearances at the heart of defense.

The 21-year-old – who possesses blistering peace, to understand the game and composure on the ball – became the first loan player in the Rams' history to win their Player of the Season award.

If Chelsea decides to keep the Canada-born England U21 defender, he will have to compete with established internationals Antonio Rudiger and David Luiz for a starting place, but his dominant performances at Derby suggest he is capable of stepping up to the Premier League.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.