Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic is confident that the players who shone for the club’s youth side this season with make a big impact on Jose Mourinho’s first team soon.
The Blues youth set-up is a cause of much frustration for many. Chelsea have a squad of exceptionally talented kids. After all, they won the FA Youth Cup and the UEFA Youth League this season. However, despite their success at junior level, very few of graduates of the Chelsea academy – apart from John Terry – go on to forge a serious career with the club at senior level.
Ivanovic thinks that could change with the current crop of young stars.
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Ruben Loftus-Cheek made his first Premier League start in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Liverpool. Chelsea have also given game time to the likes of Dominic Solanke, Nathan Ake and Andreas Christensen this term season, while Isaiah Brown is expected to make his senior debut at West Bromwich Albion next Monday.
“In my opinion we have a great generation of young players,” the Guardian quote Ivanovic as saying. “They improve during training with us and they can be competitive in the team. They can make our squad bigger and, in the future, we can really think about [using] them. It’s not just Ruben. We have a minimum of five or six players who can be in our squad and it is great for the manager to give them a chance to play.
“Solanke, Izzy Brown, Christensen, Ake … these guys are already with us and they have showed they can play in training. In the next couple of games they will get a chance. It’s a great motivation for them. They’re still young, they need to fight. But this is the period, the next one or two years, where they need to prove they are really good.”