Chelsea's Rising Stars Continue to Make the Most of Pre-Season in RZ Pellets Tie

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Chelsea's Rising Stars Continue to Make the Most of Pre-Season in RZ Pellets Tie
Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

First it was Izzy Brown and Patrick Bamford against Wycombe Wanderers, then Lewis Baker against AFC Wimbledon.

And when Chelsea needed a player to inspire them against RZ Pellets in Austria on Wednesday evening, it was another youngster who stepped up—this time Jeremie Boga taking centre stage to score an 83rd-minute equalizer to earn Chelsea a 1-1 draw.

Indeed, the young Frenchman has already impressed in pre-season, but in a packed Klagenfurt Stadium, he put in arguably his best display. Following up his strong performance against Wycombe last week, in which the 17-year-old assisted on one of Chelsea's five goals, Boga netted the equaliser for Chelsea against Pellets.

Chelsea had enjoyed the lion's share of possession, yet struggled to break down a team that is already one game into the new Austrian season. Pellets had no answer for Boga's penetrating run late on, though, as he burst free of two defenders before firing low into the bottom corner.

Far from being a young pretender, he appeared a man ready to make his mark.

It's going to take a lot more than pre-season promise for that to happen of course, although this past week or so has seen an encouraging trend develop for Jose Mourinho.

At a time when the World Cup has decimated his squad, a group of players from the youth ranks at Stamford Bridge are seizing the moment to make a name for themselves.

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Ardent Chelsea fans who pay close attention to the progress of the youth team would have already known their faces, and now the wider football community is taking notice.

Bamford came close to scoring his second goal in three games in Austria, carving an opportunity out of nothing midway through the first half, capitalizing on some poor defending before firing into the side netting from a tight angle.

He was given a 60-minute run-out, while Brown lasted until the 77th minute when he was replaced by Andreas Christensen—and only then as Mourinho tinkered with his formation to get Chelsea back in the game.

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Baker may have been sacrificed at the interval for Boga, yet he had impressed in the opening exchanges.

He has shown himself to be a talented schemer, playing further forward in pre-season than he has for Chelsea's development teams.

It was no different against Pellets, either, as Baker picked out his teammates with some exciting passes, demonstrating his vision to get Chelsea moving forward.

He's that rare breed of footballer who looks comfortable with each foot, and his set pieces were a threat that John Terry and Branislav Ivanovic endeavored to make the most of.

Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Baker grabbed three assists against Wimbledon, and another week into their pre-season schedule, his first-half display may well have seen Chelsea open up the opposition a lot earlier than they did.

It could have been any one of Chelsea's young stars leaving the pitch most satisfied. As it was, Boga was the man to steal the headlines—of which he did in some style.

Right now the youngsters are taking things in their stride, sharing the responsibility. It's exciting to watch; encouraging for those who are desperate for the Blues to create something from the undoubted talent they have coming through at youth level. Boga in particular could find himself as one of Chelsea's next emerging stars.

Mourinho himself will be encouraged. Not all of these youngsters will make the grade, but right now Chelsea's pre-season is serving as much more than preparation for 2014-15: It's providing insight into what might be further down the road and, given the opportunities before them, these players are exploiting it.

The international stars will trickle back over the coming weeks, meaning Boga, Bamford, Baker and Co. will have to take a back seat. If they continue to impress like they have recently, however, it won't be too long before we see much more of them in Chelsea colors.

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes.

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