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The great youth myth....


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Do we give our youngster enough of a chance?  

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  1. 1. Do we give our youngsters enough of a chance?

    • Yes
    • No
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Hey guys,

I wrote about this in another topic but really, I think this discussion deserves it's own thread.

Over the last few season's and particularly going into this season, the call for Chelsea to "give youth a chance" has become louder and louder and this brings up an interesting question for me, have we been giving youth enough of a chance?. Most here I would imagine looking at what's written would say no, but I disagree.

I decided to have a look at Chelsea's squad over the last decade and asked myself a) how many youth team players did we not give a reasonable chance to succeed at the club and went on to make us regret not giving them that opportunity? and B) how many youth team players did we give a chance to but for whatever reason didn't make it at the club?.

On the list of those who came out of our youth system and weren't given a reasonable chance I can only really think of one, Carlton Cole and to be honest, i'm not sure if he'll ever really be Chelsea quality, but he comes the closest to being a player out of our youth system who we'd regret selling. Honorable mentions go to Robert Huth, Samuele Dalla Bona (though he isn't even really Premiership quality these days now is he) and (if i'm really really stretching it), Jermaine Beckford.

Of those who did get a chance (defined as a senior Premier league appearance) and weren't good enough, the list is long. I counted Jody Morris, Ben Sahar, Scott Sinclair, Jon Harley, Steven Watt, Nuno Morais, Lenny Pidgeley, Anthony Grant, Sam Hutchinson, Michael Woods, Jimmy Smith, Franco DiSanto, Filipe Oliveira, Alexis Nicolas, Joe Keenan and there may be more. If you want to look at it coldly, none of these players in retrospect deserved the match time they got seeing as they pretty much all got game time not on their ability but their supposed potential (that is, if they were 28 years old at the time they wouldn't have played).

When I sit down and look at it, I really don't see any justification to suggest that we at Chelsea are guilty of "not giving youth a chance" based on what we've seen in the last decade.

Hell, Arsenal (a team famed for "giving youth team players a chance") have more players like David Bentley who maybe MAYBE were sold without been given enough of a chance and came back to make his former side look stupid for letting him go.

Now I know what your going to say "but Qaz, the players coming out of Chelsea's youth team today are much better than they used to be" and I agree, the youth team has improved.

But really, how many of these players have really shown they are up to it at this level? And the answer is so far only McEachran (though we all hope Kakuta will come good too). I would love to see the likes of Patrick van Aanholt, Jack Cork, Michael Mancienne, etc come good, but I really can't help but think its hopeful thinking on my part. Still, we had the same endless calls from fans to see more of Scott Sinclair and Ben Sahar in previous seasons and neither look like they will ever be Chelsea quality.

So in closing, I see no evidence whatsoever that Chelsea have been guilty of "not giving youth enough of a chance" over the last decade. Yes our youth system has been poor, but in terms of whether the youth players at Chelsea in general had deserved more game time than they received, the answer is quantifiably and justifiably (looking at the evidence) no.

Thoughts anyone?

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Now I know what your going to say "but Qaz, the players coming out of Chelsea's youth team today are much better than they used to be" and I agree, the youth team has improved.

That's the crux of it.

Forget what has gone before - most weren't up to it. Now is what matters and that side which won the FA Youth cup last season did so playing some really good football. Some are ready NOW, some not yet, but I will throw out...

Josh - No brainer

PVA - Looks long term replacement for Ash

Bruma - Ditto for centre back

Sturridge - Majority of us (if not all) think he should be starting matches now.

We then have others whp may or may not make the grade

Ince

Djalo

The two Cliffords (not brothers!!)

Mellis

Sala

Tore

Lalkovic

Chalobah

Not sure about a youth myth. We certainly have a decent crop at the moment and if only a few of these make it with us we'll be going in the right direction.

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Fully agree, I think too many people see playing youngsters as a fix all, something that will change everything in a moment. Damn the consequences and ignore the fact that said young players arent ready, arent better than the players they want them to replace and the fact it may even damage their own long term career. These young players need fed in gradually for their own good as much as anything else and at the moment I think Carlo is handling most of them well, with the exception of Sturridge who isnt really a young player anyway. Our youth set up was almost non existent until Roman arrived, or at best was a token effort. We are only now beginning to see the fruits of Romans money and labour with a batch of exciting young players, and if what I hear is true then the next batch after that are even more exciting. Heres to the future.

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A youth set-up is put in place to payroll the development of perhaps 1 player every two years not to be a conveyor belt spitting out world class players by the minute. These players, which some deem as crap, actually bring in important revenue to the club and are key to the youth system being self-supporting. Just count the money brought in to the system by selling Stoch, Sinclair, Di Santo, no of which really had a fair chance. Bearing in mind the point stated by dkw that our youth setup was basically dismantled under the Bates/Colin Hutchinson regime if not before it's only logical that it will take time to produce. The likes of Mancienne, Bertrand, Cork, etc predate Roman's investment while Josh, Bruma, Van Annholt etc are the first real shoots. So if these 3 (can't count Sturridge really) become first teamers by the end of next season then the youth set-up must be seen as a success.

I think the most important point is how long, (how many minutes, games) is considered long enough? For instance, I don't think Sturridge has had a fair chance, 5 minutes here and there is not a chance, but saying that there must be reasons. I also believe you can't just bring in youngsters when things are going right. If they are good enough then they are good enough anytime.

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I think that players like van aahnholt kakuta and bruma, who are 19 would benefit more from playing 45 mins rather than 5 when were chasing the game. I can understand giving players 5 mins on their debut to get them used to the atmosphere.

I'm a firm beleiver that players who are good enough will make it impossible for managers to ignore them at any club. No world beaters slip through the net anymore, although I was disappointed to see stoch go.

realistically a top notch youth set up will provide 1 first team player every 2 years. their is and can be exceptions to this but the academy is used as a great source of income as much as a conveyor belt for world class talent.

I hope that we get lucky with this current crop because although we haven't put all our eggs in one basket( I mean good eggs not bad eggs) weve leaned heavily on the belief that 5 youth players will be world beaters. Fingers crossed.

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Good thread Qaz . I myself wanted to start a thread on our prolonged ( last 2 years ) disservice to the youth team players .

Our youth team players are not given a fair chance at all . Either Carlo is too stubborn or he must have the greatest of faith on our first team players . Either way this is just non sense to ignore our youth players . Sometimes it is very painful to see them rot on the bench and see their senior players perform poorly . I was watching some of the videos of our reserve team matches . It was really a joy to watch players exchange positions , players bombing up and down , some intelligent through balls etc., etc.,

Where is squad rotation , folks ?

Here is my account on our current youth team players in order of first team stake quotient .

1. Daniel Sturridge - His strong (left) foot is as good as anyone . His best position could be a free role upfront and being one out of 2 forwards could be his best position. To see Kalou , Anelka , Malouda performing poorly and still playing ahead of him in forward position , he must be very down on morale . The sooner Carlo puts him on the starting 11 , the faster he can improve his morale and start performing .. "Give him 5-10 consecutive matches on the starting 11"

2. Van Aanholt - It was a joy watching him bomb up front and back playing for the reserves . His shooting is very good and can just dribble past players . Carlo is wasting this talent for sure by not rotating him with Ashley cole . He is good enough to start , according to me . Superb in attack , not bad in defence . Will surely improve given playing time . "Rotate PVA with cole for every 3-4 games"

3. Bruma - Well , he showed us against villa that he is not that bad not to be considered a 4th choice CB . He is good and looks as a ball playing defender . Young and good pace . One of his long passes against villa was really good and could have resulted in a goal but for Malouda spoiling Ramires' chance . We don't need another CB imho ( if Brana is going to be a CB ) .

4. kakuta - Glimpses of talent but last 15 mins is never enough . Carlo must change the system to suit this talented kid . Carlo subbed him twice after 45 mins of those matches which is not going to do his confidence any good . When Kalou , malouda , anelka can get enough chances , kakuta surely needs to start matches .

5. Josh - We all know he is talented . When you are chasing a match , you don't swap like for like defensive midfielder as Carlo did with Ramires and mikel . When senior players are afraid to keep possession , why not send this kid out ? May be Carlo must read a recent article ( Richard William's Guardian article -"Josh has a left foot to die for" ) on Josh to give him fair chances .

Others like Mellis , Sala , Borini ( poor guy with no contract ) atleast need time to develop . But the guys listed above are surely first team material .

Carlo - Please start trusting our youth - Do not punish us playing Kalou , Malouda , Anelka , Paulo every game or every 1-2 games . This is a very humble request !

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borini needs to lower his wage demands by all accounts! I think van aanholt has the potential to be the best lb inthe world, he's good going forward and defending, extremely quick, strikes the ball like rivaldo, and at full back he has the presence of a player like maicon.

I don't think wel see the best of kakuta until he's in the hole behind 2 strikers and given enough freedom to express himself without having to worry about keeping possesion all time, he looks like he's scared to give the ball away, but when he gets going he will be unstoppable.

I actually think our youngsters suit a 4 4 2 diamond more 4 3 3. sturridge and kakuta would definately look better in that formation. not to mention what doors that could open for borini, who I think could be the next inzaghi, he really is that good.

I like to see us play 442 against Ipswich

turnbull

ivanovic terry bruma van aahnolt

ramires

lampard mceachran

kakuta

sturridge drogba

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Hate to point this out because I don't give it much credit myself, on account of our "bad moment and chasing games" but it can't hurt throwing it into the mix. Since Wilkins was removed and Arnesen announced his intention to leave, the youth seem to be stuck on the bench and the 5-10 minutes here and there, especially for Josh have stopped.

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I'm sure the Doc told Osgood he was in for 10 games regardless of how he played back in 1965 and I reckon we should now do the same with Van Aanholt, McEachran and Kakuta. So it's bye bye (for now) to Ashley, Ramires (or Obi) and Malouda.

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I'm sure the Doc told Osgood he was in for 10 games regardless of how he played back in 1965 and I reckon we should now do the same with Van Aanholt, McEachran and Kakuta. So it's bye bye (for now) to Ashley, Ramires (or Obi) and Malouda.

What have you been smoking tonight? You are right about the Doc and Osgood back then, but right now we are in a battle for CL qualification, and you think we should drop Ashley Cole and play PVA for 10 games regardless of how he plays?

McEachran deserves a few starts and has the talent to thrive, but you risk ruining youngsters by throwing them in too early. I think Kakuta - who's shown very little so far - would benefit from some extended game time, and right now our attack is so crap I'd be happy to see him given a decent chance to play without fear of being hauled off or dropped. Anelka and Kalou have been allowed plenty of time to play themselves into form, so Kakuta should get some as well, although Sturridge is ahead of him in the pecking order.

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Carlo isn't very good at giving youth their time (just look at how he left Milan), but I think that McEachran at least will be given a decent amount of minutes over the next few months/seasons and he will probably be our best youth player.

- Not sure if Van Aanholt will ever be out starting LB, but he has looked good.

- Kakuta is supposed to be another future star like McEachran and hopefully with his contract talks finally solved he will start showing what he can do sooner rather than later.

- Bruma is promising I guess but with all the talk of us getting Luiz, Cahill, Subotic or all 3 then who knows what will happen to him...

- Sturridge is talented but I highly doubt he'll become our permanent starting striker ever. Hopefully i'm wrong, it would be nice to have an englishman up fron the attack.

- Don't really know how good Delac is, but he is supposed to be our future GK.

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Josh should have played more than he has so far, but I think Carlo see's his age as a huge factor & doesn't want to throw him in whilst the rest are playing so badly. He's a huge talent, but not 10 mens worth.

PVA looks like he could step up, and would like too see Sturridge be given a chance especially since our fowards have been so bad lately. I do however feel he will never quite make it, he looks a bit uncomfortable on the ball. Bruma and Kakuta have shown glimpses of it. Both still very young. Would like to have seen more of Borini, but don't think we will.

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I'm sure the Doc told Osgood he was in for 10 games regardless of how he played back in 1965 and I reckon we should now do the same with Van Aanholt, McEachran and Kakuta. So it's bye bye (for now) to Ashley, Ramires (or Obi) and Malouda.

Dont be so ridiculous.

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Well the youngsters have proved to some extent . Albeit it is a match against a championship side , they still had to perform well and they did ..

Josh can surely start every 3-4 games and as sub in other games ...

PVA is the best bet to step up .. This is a perfect time to groom him to become our first choice LB for years once Acole decides to quit . He is superb in attack and his knack of taking on players is a sight to watch !

Studge showed his talent ... Bruma and Kakuta played well ...

Now its time CARLO !

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Well the youngsters have proved to some extent . Albeit it is a match against a championship side , they still had to perform well and they did ..

Josh can surely start every 3-4 games and as sub in other games ...

PVA is the best bet to step up .. This is a perfect time to groom him to become our first choice LB for years once Acole decides to quit . He is superb in attack and his knack of taking on players is a sight to watch !

Studge showed his talent ... Bruma and Kakuta played well ...

Now its time CARLO !

Why not play him just ahead of AC, where Zhirkov was doing well be fore injury?

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Call me a stereotypical fan but I think the outlook of our youth right now looks great. That being said I can't help but feel that it will take bigger injection than just youth to put us on the pinnacle again. Regardless lets give these kids some more play time though, yes Carlo?

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I'm pretty happy with how much we've played our younger players. Perhaps cup starts should be assured to Josh, Kakuta, Sturridge and Bruma, at least in earlier stages, and our easier champions league group stage games too.

Josh has been played a fair bit. For starters i think it would have been a waste of a transfer not to give Ramires a fair go, not to mention risky to rely too hevily on josh at this stage of his development - don't forget he's still under 18.

Kakuta has had a go, ok not hours of playing time, but he does still look a bit lightweight and in my opinion really shouldn't be starting important games yet.

Carlo has shown some trust in Bruma too, and although he hasn't been brilliant enough to win a first team place yet, he's very young and hasn't blown it by any stretch. I fully expect to see more of him. I worry about what'll happen to him if we get another centre back. I don't think we really need another one now, as long as Boswinga stays fit - it won't be too long til Alex is back, and the only thing I think we need to avoid is Ferreira playing unless as a sub. Absolutely no centre back starts ever again please!

Sturridge looks better and better all the time, I hope he's being lined up to replace Anelka when he starts playing less or goes elsewhere. He'll end up better than Kalou, that's for sure. Shame he's not right footed, or I think he might have leapfrogged Kalou for that right wing/forward spot permanently by now.

PVA looks good, but so far I think has had as much game time as his quality demands- a player as good as Ash cannot be dropped, and must only be rotated for less important games. PVA can deputise, but as yet we have seen a good performance against a rudderless championship side. Yes he needs games, but we have to be patient with how much he gets thrown into the mix, considering what is at stake right now.

Borini may be a good prospect, but the fact is there are better players above him in the pecking order and we may not ever see him step up to the first team.

I think we have some very good prospects, but we have to be realistic about how much game time they can get. I would far rather see Kakuta and Bruma go on loan (Bruma only when Alex is fit) than risk them in the first team on a long term basis, or much more than we do now. They are just not ready to compete for a champions league spot. Josh should stay, but don't get too excited yet, he still has some development ahead of him if he is to be the sort of player we have come to expect at Chelsea- one of the best in the world. None of them are yet, and even if they are destined to be, there is a limit to how much we can allow them to learn from their mistakes on our time. Don't get me wrong, I fully think they should get first team game time. But players like them would be snapped up on loan, and that could do far more for them than we can afford to.

As an aside, I'd love to know how much a player's development costs us. Someone made the point earlier about youth players being a good source of revenue- I wonder how much their eventual transfer fees are offset by the cost of their training, wages etc.

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Unlike many others, I'm not particularly impressed with Arnesen's work.

It took a hefty compensation package to get him out of Spurs five years ago and one thing we seem to have invested heavily over the years was youth scouting and development. Even if we stopped spending much on the first team targets, I'd love to see the numbers when it comes to all the youngsters we managed to assemble since Arnesen took over. I'm sure the amount is pretty big.

So now, five years and many million pounds later, we've got five youngsters in the first squad. Sturridge can't really be considered to be a product of our academy but is well known to be the Dane's player, someone he closely followed and identified as the key player for the club. Hard to say how good he really is, but we'll hopefully find out soon enough.

Bruma and Van Aanholt definitely have potential. Bruma though, may have trouble adapting to a league where he'll be dominated aerially on a regular basis, which seems to be the case so far. Van Aanholt looks a top prospect going forward but it remains to be seen if his defensive prowess is up to it when he's facing a better quality opposition.

Kakuta is probably the highest rated youngster in our midst and yet he looks very, very raw. Considering how much of a headache his transfer turned out to be, you were kind of hoping he'll hit the ground running, proving to everyone that it was worth it. The kid is already 19, not exactly a boy anymore, yet every time I see him, he disappoints.

Last, but not least, young Josh McEachran. Ironically, the kid who's younger than all of those I already mentioned and who was at the club before even Roman's takeover, is the one who appears to have the most talent and the most polished game. I don't know what it says about Arnesen's input, but it does make you think, doesn't it?

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