Chelsea and Its Youth System: A Look at Three Young Stars
Today Frank Lampard came out and said that Chelsea needs to start looking for more homegrown talent like himself in places like Essex instead of going out and constantly spending fortunes.
Despite my love of high profile transfers to my favored club, Lampard is 100 percent correct.
I will cite two clubs that have won multiple European Cups/Champions League titles; the title I might add that most clubs probably value the most.
First, there is FC Barcelona, recent European Champions and one of the most dazzling sides of this decade.
Gerard Pique, Lionel Messi, and Xavi all have came from the youth system saving the club not only money, but learning how to develop their integral chemistry from an earlier age. This method of building a club combined with smart transfers has always been the formula for success and I think that Lampard's statements come right in line with it.
Second, I'm going to dive into the bag of oldies and pick one of the most surprising European Cup double winners of all time: Nottingham Forest.
This team would be considered the extreme of what homegrown talent can accomplish. During the era of true English domination of European play this team won back to back Cups using players that were not only homegrown in the youth system, actually from the same small area!
This is astounding and practically unheard of today. But if Chelsea is chasing European glory, this might be a good history lesson to help map the future.
Now with the history out of the way, let us take a look at the three players that have the potential to be superstars for Chelsea in the future.
Firstly there is the one that has seen some first team action and gotten a call up to the senior national squad: Michael Mancienne.
This young defender has played in upwards of 70 games for Queens Park Rangers on loan from Chelsea and has shown his ability to play anywhere on the backline in both zonal and man-to-man schemes. In his two appearances this season for Chelsea he held clean sheets while on the field and showed great tackling, energy, and instincts.
Considering Johny Terry is starting to show signs of wear and tear, and Carvalho about to go out the door I believe it is time for Chelsea to start grooming Mancienne for the future. He has shown remarkable skill and patience while waiting for his turn to shine. If his previous appearances can be used as landmarks for the future, he will certainly shine bright.
Standing at 6'4, Argentine striker Franco Di Santo seems to be the future out-and-out striker for the Blues. Before arriving he had 35 goals in 86 games for Audax Italiano in the Chilean league.
This is from a mere teenager!
While playing for Chelsea's reserve squad he managed an impressive seven goals in eight games including one hat trick. Furthermore, when Scolari brought him on tour he proved he could score while playing with the first squad and in his various other substitute appearances he has shown a great instinct for the goal.
With Drogba and Anelka already over 30, why not give a chance for real starting minutes to this player that can be an exceptional mix of Hernan Crespo and Didier Drogba for the next decade. Certainly he can at least play half a game against mid table Premiership sides.
The final player that I will be examning will be England Under 20 International Scott Sinclair.
Though he has not been given a lot of opportunities by Chelsea's first team or the sides he has been loaned out to; he did make a great contribution to the English youth sides with eight goals in 15 appearances. However, he has been playing for the reserves alongside Di Santo and is around many great players during his tenure this year with the first team. Sinclair has the pace and touch to be a fine striker for Chelsea.
The talents that these players have combined with the fact they have been playing together and with the first team could be the crucial building blocks for not only capturing a Champions League within the next few years, but lay the foundation for long-term Chelsea strength for the next decade. Perhaps this is what Lampard fears for. He knows that he and his best running buddies are losing the battle against Father Time and wants his new manager (who he admires) to help develop this crop of players the same way he developed Pirlo and Kaka.
One last thing, I wanted to look at three more players from the bench in Woods, Lee and Stoch, but I honestly do not know too much about them. My hope is one day they could replace Joe Cole and Frank Lampard, but there isn't enough video or commentary for me to think they could. If anyone of you do have information on those and the other Chelsea first team youngsters I'd love for you to comment/report on them!
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