With all of the exciting young talent that is going to be fighting for a place this season at Chelsea, there is one player who is in danger of slipping through the cracks. Although Chelsea fans have not forgotten the boy who has been at the club from the age of seven, homegrown talent Josh McEachran is still struggling to make his name for Chelsea in a broader sense.
The interesting thing about McEachran is that he has all of the makings of a future Stamford Bridge legend. Having already represented Chelsea 11 times, the Englishman had a successful loan spell at Middlesborough—even being named Boro's "Young Player of the Year." And at just 20 years old, McEachran is still incredibly young.
Yet somehow there still seems to be people who doubt his potential and question his progress. Why is this the case?
Well, the first problem appears to be that McEachran suffered from a classic case of sky-high expectations. Chelsea fans are all too often starved for homegrown talent, so it naturally happens that when an exciting young prospect with a natural midfield ability comes through the ranks, the Stamford Bridge faithful are all too ready to accept him.
However, high expectations are often the heaviest of burdens to carry, and soon enough the naysayers reared their heads.
This brings us to the second problem: Since making his first appearance for the Blues, McEachran has failed to sparkle quite as much as many hoped that he would (and suffered from constant, unfair comparisons with Jack Wilshere).
Having said this, as mentioned McEachran is still just 20, and as mentioned, he was the Young Player of the Year and a promising talent. But can he ever make the grade at Stamford Bridge?
The short answer is "yes."
The fact that Chelsea have tried so hard to hold on to Josh McEachran says a lot about the way they envision his future. Loan spells are important to any young player's development, and McEachran has matured with each one.
Although he didn't always dictate play for the Championship side last season, the player did manage to show his potential with some skilled one-touch play that changed certain games. A glimpse of the boxed potential that Carlo Ancelotti saw when he managed Chelsea.
There is potential trouble for McEachran in the shape of the already overflowing Chelsea midfield.
Michael Essien and Marco Van Ginkel will be increasing competition for places, which has led rumors to fly that McEachran will soon be on his way out on another loan (via the Daily Mail). However, with the current jostling for places, a loan might just be the best possible situation for a 20-year-old with a bright future.
Chelsea don't seem to be in any hurry to let McEachran go, and although he may still have a long way to come, there is no question that he has the potential to go on to do great things at Chelsea, proving the doubters wrong in the process. And with time on his side, you would be a fool to bet against him doing just that.