Picking a Starting XI of Current Players Who Graduated From the Chelsea Academy

The Chelsea academy has been one of the best in England for some time now. However, sadly, they don’t have much to show in terms of players who have made it into the first team.

Chelsea’s young stars have been dominating youth football for several years and the club can boast having produced some of the best talents around. Yet, they don’t make it into the senior setup that often.

The Blues’ thirst for silverware has paid off major dividends and they have been one of the most successful clubs in Europe since Roman Abramovich took over. Yet as a consequence, they haven’t been able to extend patience where their youth are concerned.

Despite all of that, one could put together a more than half-decent XI of current players who are former academy stars at Chelsea…

11. GK – Jamal Blackman

Current club: Leeds United (loan)

Jamal Blackman has been with Chelsea since 2006 but is yet to make a single first-team appearance for the side. Currently with Leeds United, the 24-year old has been going out on loan since 2014 and has played for the likes of Middlesbrough, Ostersunds FK, Wycombe Wanderers and Sheffield United over the years.

Despite his obvious talent, Blackman has found it hard to break into the Blues’ first unit given the outrageous competition between the sticks. Chelsea only just broke the bank to bring Kepa Arrizabalaga in from Spain this year; but before that, they had Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois under their employ.

Their second-string stoppers over the last few years haven’t been half bad either, with Ross Turnbull, Mark Schwarzer, Asmir Begovic, Marco Amelia and Eduardo all having passed through and Willy Caballero still around.

10. RB – Tomas Kalas

Current club: Bristol City (loan)

The Czech right-back is out on loan with Bristol City, his ninth loan spell since joining the Stamford Bridge outfit.

Kalas, 24, signed for Chelsea from Sigma Olomouc in 2010 but remained with the Czech side on loan until 2011, after which he went to star for Vitesse Arnhem. He has only made a pair of appearances for the side, finding a bit of favour under Jose Mourinho in 2014.

Competition for places, though, has limited his opportunities at the club and he has spent nearly every season out on loan since his 2010 move.

9. CB – Nathan Ake

Current club: Bournemouth

Nathan Ake left Chelsea for Bournemouth last year and has become a key player under Eddie Howe. The versatile Dutch centre-back played all 38 games for the Cherries last season and has played in all four of their matches so far in this one.

Having joined the Blues’ youth setup from Feyenoord as a 16-year-old, Ake showed great promise at the club. He was sent to Reading on loan in 2015 and made another temporary move to Watford that same year.

Ake would also head to the Vitality Stadium on a season-loan deal in 2016 but was recalled by Chelsea in January of 2017 after an impressive string of performances. The young defender started in Chelsea’s famous FA Cup semi-final win over Spurs that April and it was expected that he would remain with the side the following season. However, he was sold to the Cherries for £20m last summer, much to the dismay of Blues fans.

8. CB – John Terry

Current club: Free Agent

There’s not much that needs to be said for John Terry. The former Blues and England captain is a legendary defender and one of the best the world has ever seen. That he’s still the only player to emerge from Chelsea’s academy and play such an important role in the side’s history in the Premier League era does speak volumes, although that doesn’t seem as rosy on the Stamford Bridge residents’ part.

Terry is currently a free agent, having played in the Championship for Aston Villa last season. The Birmingham outfit are rumoured to want him back for the current term but there could also be an offer from Sporting CP on the table.

7. CB – Andreas Christensen

Current club: Chelsea

The Danish defender enjoyed a breakout season under Antonio Conte during 2017/18 and is the first player to have made such a solid impact on the Blues’ first team since Terry. With Maurizio Sarri taking over from Conte this year, Christensen doesn’t appear to be a first-choice centre-back for the side, but it’s hard to imagine him not getting minutes.

The son of former Brondby goalkeeper Sven Christensen, the 22-year-old moved to Chelsea in 2012 after spending eight years in the former’s academy. There was competition for his signature from the likes of Arsenal, Manchester City and Bayern Munich but Roman Abramovich’s side succeeded in landing the youngster for their academy.

Christensen spent two years on loan with Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach, where he impressed immensely ahead of a successful return to Chelsea. He is one of the most highly-rated young defenders in Europe at the moment and has already made 20 appearances for Denmark since 2015.

6. LB – Ryan Bertrand

Current club: Southampton

Ryan Bertrand started for Chelsea in their Champions League final clash with Bayern Munich six years ago and emerged with a winner’s medal. The English left-back, who was tipped to become Ashley Cole’s successor, was allowed to leave for Southampton three years ago and has continued to impress.

The 29-year-old joined the Blues from Gillingham in 2005 and was loaned out nine times before making the permanent move to St Mary’s. He is now viewed as one of the best full-backs in the Premier League and has taken on the modern-day role, contributing to the attack down the flank, making runs into the box and creating chances. 

In 152 appearances, Bertrand has scored seven times and assisted 18 goals for the Saints. He also made 57 total appearances for the Blues.

5. RM – Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Current club: Chelsea

Midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek is considered to be Chelsea’s brightest academy product of recent times. Having spent last season on loan at Crystal Palace, the Englishman showed remarkable talent and made a huge case for World Cup selection.

Gareth Southgate did include him in the England setup for the tournament and he comes into this season with high hopes. Maurizio Sarri opted to keep Loftus-Cheek in the Blues squad for the campaign, despite reports claiming he was keen to leave on loan again given the competition for places in midfield at Stamford Bridge.

But, given his ability, he could force his way into contention for a starting spot at some point this term.

4. CM – Nathaniel Chalobah

Current club: Watford

Another excellent product from the Chelsea academy, the midfielder joined the London side as a 10-year-old. He saw loads of success in the Blues’ youth and reserve sides and served as the captain quite regularly.

Chalobah was loaned out on seven occasions and gathered lots of experience playing for Watford, Nottingham Forest, Middlesbrough, Burnley, Reading and Napoli. 

He’s also a Premier League winner, having featured during Chelsea’s 2016/17 title-winning campaign. And it came as quite the shock when he was allowed to join the Hornets on a permanent basis last year.

3. LM – Calum Hudson-Odoi

Current club: Chelsea

Calum Hudson-Odoi has been named as part of Chelsea’s 23-man squad for the first half of the Premier League season. The teenage winger was particularly impressive during the Blues’ pre-season and enjoyed a free run on the left flank in Eden Hazard’s absence.

The 17-year-old might not be afforded many minutes this season as Hazard has reclaimed his spot. But we could see him handed some quality game time in the League Cup and Europa League as Sarri could decide to give the Belgian a break when fixtures from these competitions come around.

2. ST – Dominic Solanke

Current club: Liverpool

Dominic Solanke is viewed as one of the best strikers Chelsea’s academy ever produced. The 20-year-old scored loads of goals for the Blues youth sides during his time in London, having joined the club as an Under-8 in 2004.

With fans crying out for his inclusion in the first team, it appeared that their wishes would come true under Conte, who included the player in his squad for the first half of the 2016/17 campaign. But, with Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi ahead of him in the pecking order, the youngster saw little joy.

Solanke only made one senior appearance for the Londoners, playing 17 minutes in a 6-0 win over Maribor in the group stage of the Champions League in 2014. And, following a long drawn-out contract dispute with the club, he signed for Liverpool after his contract expired last year.

1. ST – Tammy Abraham

Current club: Aston Villa (loan)

The 20-year-old striker left Chelsea for Aston Villa on loan last month and will hope to claim a place in the first team when he returns. Abraham, who had a really impressive 2016/17 loan spell at Bristol City as he scored 23 goals in 41 appearances, spent last season on a temporary deal with Swansea.

He didn’t have as prolific a campaign in front of goal for the Swans, only scoring five times from 15 starts. But he’s one of the most promising young forwards on the English scene and could definitely hold his own up front.


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