A contribution piece from Brian – @CFCBrian_
We have a lot of young players coming through at Chelsea currently, but how good are they? Can they handle Premier League football? Do we have a golden generation coming through?
There are a lot of different opinions on social media regarding our younger up and coming talents. Some say that they are being overrated by many and will have us fighting relegation, others say that they will take us back into Europe’s elite.
Personally I think the answer lies somewhere in the middle even though I am a bit biased towards the latter. However, if this project is going to take us fully back into the good company and competing with Man City and Liverpool, we need to add talented players from the outside to add to the strong core that we’re about to build.
So let’s start breaking down the players I believe will be a part of this golden generation:
Tomori is a somewhat late bloomer consistency-wise but he has always had the talent and ability to become a top-level footballer. He was always regarded as one of the most technical and composed CB’s at our academy alongside fellow first-team player Andreas Christensen, and really impressed the vast majority of Chelsea fans with his on the ball performance against Sheffield United, which was his first ever start in the Premier League.
Last season at Derby he also proved to have matured as a top-level footballer by consistently delivering good performances which ended with him winning the Fans’ Player of the Year and Players’ Player of the Year award at Derby. Notable performances came against Manchester United at Old Trafford and Chelsea at Stamford Bridge.
James has always been highly rated within the walls of Cobham and Stamford Bridge but was for some reason not talked about as much as other talented players coming through our academy.
It wasn’t until last season, his first season of men’s football, that people really started to talk about him. He went on loan to Wigan and was originally meant to be their back-up right-back. However, it took manager Paul Cook only 5 minutes of the first training session to realise that he would be a first-team starter.
He had such a huge impact for the club that big parts of the Wigan fanbase genuinely meant that he was the best player that had ever played for the club. He was their first-choice set-piece taker whether it was corners, indirect free-kicks, direct free-kicks, penalties, you name it. He even captained them in his final game which is amazing considering that he was a 19-year old, on-loan player. The most impressive thing of all was that he did this playing in several different positions while still maintaining a MOTM level in almost every game, making him the winner of the Fans’ Player of the Year, Players’ Player of the Year and worthy of a spot in the EFL Team of the Season.
Another thing that has been forgotten by many is the fact that he won the Academy Player of the Year award for Chelsea in 2017-18. Ahead of the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu who had both made their Premier League debut that season.
Mount is another player that there has always been high hopes for within Chelsea and rightly so.
In his first season of professional football at Vitesse he racked up 13 goals and 10 assists, totaling 23 direct goal involvements from midfield which is really impressive in itself, but even more so when you consider the fact that he was only 18 years old.
A lot of arguments has been made that we need another midfielder because Mount isn’t creative enough. I disagree. In his last 2 seasons at Vitesse and Derby he has averaged 2.2 key passes per game which is only 0.3 less than Eden Hazard in the same period of time. To compare to other young players in the same position, Kai Havertz has only averaged 1 key pass per game while Houssem Aouar has averaged 1.2 key passes per game. Clearly Mason’s lack of creativity is just a myth created by his biggest doubters.
A testament to his mentality and maturity is how quickly he has managed to take to the Premier League. 2 goals and 7 key passes in his first 3 games of the season and a PFA Player of the Month nomination speaks volumes to what a talent we got on our hands.
Gilmour’s Premier League debut was questioned by many because of the timing of his substitution. Many thought it was the wrong decision by Lampard to call on such an inexperienced player at such a crucial point of the game. Whether that decision was right or wrong can be argued all day long but there is no denying that Lampard trusts him and will keep giving him chances in the future.
When we signed Gilmour at the age of 15 from Rangers he was being dubbed “The new Iniesta” and was chased by big clubs such as Barcelona.
He has consistently been one of the Development Squad’s best players for the past 2 seasons and blew the entire fanbase away during pre-season, showcasing his fantastic talent and maturity at the age of 18. Definitely a future star for this club.
Our most recognised “generational talent”. A player who the entire fanbase can agree will become a world class superstar.
He made his Premier League debut at the age of 17 at home to Bournemouth, however, it took him a while to get a look in with the first-team again even after a brilliant pre-season form the following season.
After some fantastic individual performances in the Europa League last season mixed with a poor run of form from Willian and Pedro, he finally got his chance as a first-team regular as a RW playing opposite of Eden Hazard. Unfortunately he ruptured his achilles in his 4th start and has been injured since, due to return after the international break.
He only played as a RW for Chelsea in the Premier League last season, but when played in his favored LW position in the Europa League, you could see how much of a danger this young man was at the age of 17-18. In the Europa League he averaged a goal every 105 minutes which is a respectable return.
If you’re not yet convinced of the man’s abilities, the fact that Bayern München were willing to pay £40m for him in January should convince you. Their transfer record at the time was the £36m they paid Lyon for Corentin Tolisso in the summer of 2017-18.
Is he going to be the man to finally break our #9 curse? The signs are positive so far.
From youth level Tammy Abraham has always been a clinical goalscorer showcased by the fact that from 2014-16 he scored 74 goals in 98 games for our various youth teams.
His first season of professional football was also a hugely impressive one. He scored 26 goals across all competitions for Bristol City, 23 of which were in the Championship. A rather impressive record considering that City finished 17th and was only 3 points above the relegation zone.
His 2nd season was a rather disappointing one. He was given a go in the Premier League by Swansea, managed by former Chelsea assistant manager, Paul Clement. He started off well by scoring 5 and assisting twice within the first 2 months of the season and won Swansea’s Player of the Month award for both August and September. Following a weak collective start to the season for Swansea, Paul Clement was sacked and replaced by Francesco Guidolin who opted for experience and removed Tammy from the starting lineup.
This has led many to believe that Tammy was a big failure in the Premier League and was never going to succeed there claiming he was a “Championship striker”, even though he was directly involved in a goal every 172 minutes in all competitions for a team that ended up being relegated.
However, he went back to the Championship and bagged 25 league goals for Aston Villa in the 2018-19 season, the first one to do so since 1977, scoring a goal every 126 minutes and was soon back on the lips of Chelsea fans all over the world.
His life as Chelsea’s #9 got off to a rocky start by failing to score in his first 3 games (1 start) and missing the deciding penalty in the European Super Cup. However, as is a common denominator amongst our talented youth players his big mentality shines through and after suffering a tough start to the season and racial abuse from his own fanbase he hits back by bagging a brace and becoming the the match-winner away to Norwich, followed by yet another brace at home to Sheffield United.
He’s got every ability you want in a top class centre-forward and the mentality to match it.
This group of players will definitely be a part of the spine of our team for the next 10-12 years and join a couple other academy graduates that have impressed in the first-team in the shape of Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen. Golden generation or not, this is a talented bunch of players all aspiring to make it all the way to the top.
Honorable mentions: Faustino Anjorin, Marc Guehi, Ethan Ampadu and Conor Gallagher.