Chelsea’s 7-1 win against Grimsby in the Carabao Cup saw many Chelsea academy youngsters make their debuts. One of them being Ian Maatsen. The 17 year old Dutch left back came on in the 67th minute, replacing Marcos Alonso, embarking into his Chelsea senior career. Maatsen took advantage of the limited time and displayed an impressive performance. He will definitely be an important player for the Blues in the future. So who exactly is he? 

Youth Career

Ian Maatsen was born in Vlaardingen, Netherlands. At age seven he joined Feyenoord’s youth academy. However, Feyenoord would later drop him allegedly for being too “small”. Maatsen overcame this setback and continued pursuing his dreams. Shortly after, he joined Sparta Rotterdam’s academy. For the next two years he developed significantly as a player and displayed promising talent which earned him a place at PSV’s academy. 

In 2018, Ian Maatsen took a huge risk and accepted an offer to join Chelsea’s prestigious academy. Ian Maatsen went on to play for Chelsea’s U18s and helped the U23s in the Checkatrade trophy. He was also a big part of Joe Edward’s U19s squad who came second in the UEFA Youth League. 

However, Ian Maatsen had even more success internationally. He was an extremely key member of Holland’s U17 side that won the European Championships in 2019 with him even scoring in the final against Italy to take them 3-0 up. The goal was phenomenal as he struck the ball cleanly from far range into the bottom left corner. 

Playing Style

Ian Maatsen is a small left back standing at five foot six only. Despite being small, it has not set him back at all. He has a skillful left foot and blistering pace which allows him to speed through the left flank. His agility is outstanding as well. He can play as a centre-back and midfield too as he played in various systems in his youth career. 

Despite being dropped from Feyenoord for being too small, Maatsen overcome this hurdle and grew from it. One of his best assets for sure is his elite mentality. 

According to, His cousin, Darren Maatsen, a professional footballer at RKC Waalwijk, stated that “At that age, it is very difficult to take, seeing other boys get through when you are dropped at Under-13s. It must have been hard for him, especially as a young boy. Going through every year and you aren’t tall enough to be a Feyenoord player. It is a tough one to swallow.” 

Most young players will quit in a setback like this but Maatsen proved his doubters wrong and showed that size does not matter. 

Chelsea Debut

On September 25th 2019 in front of 39,674 thousand people at Stamford Bridge, Ian Maatsen came on in the 67th minute to replace Marcos Alonso against Grimsby. In the limited time he was on, he exploited the space on the left flank to get into dangerous positions, while he made some excellent passes in the final third that gave their defence some issues. He displayed some good linkup play in the left flank and overall he had a great performance that showcased his promising talent. 

What does the future hold for him? 

With Chelsea currently having two senior left backs, Emerson and Alonso, Ian Maatsen will definitely get more chances to impress Lampard this season. We may see more of him in the Carabao Cup and even potentially the FA Cup this season. He is certainly a talented player and may become an important player for the Blues in the coming seasons. Who knows? He may even become our starting left back soon.

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