This season has proven to be quite a roller coaster ride for Chelsea fans already. With spectacular displays of football to average ones. However all this aside, this is a new era for Chelsea. It is something I myself have not experienced in my years of supporting the Blues, it is what I call the “Youth Take over”. Lampard and his team have placed immense trust on the youth and have fielded a side that have broken records such as fielding the youngest Chelsea side in 25 years. This trust that Chelsea have placed in their youth has proven to be no mistake, with all of Chelsea’s goal scorers in the Premier League so far being academy graduates. We can look no further than to Chelsea’s very own Jody Morris who has been one of the masterminds behind the development of these youth players.
Chelsea Playing Days
Jody Morris was also a Chelsea academy graduate who come through the ranks alongside John Terry. Morris became one of Chelsea’s youngest players to grace the Bridge in February 4th 1996 where he made his debut against Middlesbrough. Despite not featuring any more in that season he was named Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year for the 1996/97 season. His first goal came in the next season where he scored against Blackpool in a 4-1 win in the Coca Cola Cup. He featured a couple more times that season and played a small part in Chelsea FA Cup win where they broke their 26 year trophy drought. The following season, Morris still struggled to establish himself as a regular but showed signs of promising displays throughout the season.
It was not until the 1999/2000 season where Morris established himself as an important figure for Chelsea. He made a total of 46 appearances for the club that season. He showed the player he could be against Barcalona in the Champions League in a 3-1 win for the Blues where Morris dominated Xavi. He continued his impressive performance in the Champions League that season in a 0-0 draw with AC Milan and a 5-0 thrashing of Galatasaray.
Morris’s Chelsea career didn’t reach the potential fans expected him to and in 2003 he left Chelsea as a free agent and joined Leeds that summer. He ended his Chelsea playing career with a total of 124 appearances and 5 goals. He played an important role for Chelsea in those years and proved himself to be a fan favourite. Morris later played for various teams including Millwall and St Johnstone before rejoining the Blues as a coach.
Return to Chelsea
It was not until near the end of Morris’s playing career when he realised that he could become a coach whilst working with Derek Mclness at St Johnstone and was offered the chance to join the Chelsea Academy to help coach the U21s. It was the perfect reunion for him, a former academy graduate and local boy rejoins former club.
Morris made his mark when he was promoted to manage the U18s where he won every competition they entered in the two seasons he was in charge. He helped them to a record five consecutive FA Youth Cups wins and made the Chelsea senior academy side a dominant and fierce team to play against. Morris helped the Chelsea academy to many more trophies including a quadruple in 2017-18 season.
During his time as a Chelsea academy coach, he played a significant role in the development of the club’s youngsters such as Reece James, Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi and many more. He proved to be one of England’s brightest young coaches.
During Morris’ time coaching at Chelsea, legend Frank Lampard, fresh out of his retirement, was working with Morris to earn his badges. Lampard was extremely impressed by his former teammate’s work ethics, coaching ability and leadership, that when Lampard was offered the job at Derby, he brought Morris along with him to join his back room staff. Along with Morris, Lampard brought youngsters Mount and Tomori to Derby on loan. Lampard and Morris went on to qualify Derby County to the Championship playoffs where they barely lost to Aston Villa in a dramatic 2-1 loss.
As we know, Morris has reunited with Chelsea once more. His knowledge about Chelsea’s star youngsters will definitely be beneficial this season and give important input to Lampard. The young stars this season, Tomori, Mount and Abraham are performing exceptionally well and proving many doubters wrong. All of this is no doubt, the workings of Jody Morris.