Being a homegrown player and a self-confessed massive fan for his entire life, Jody Morris may be considered a little bias. But the assistant manager insists that the club’s academy is now the best in the world.
Frank Lampard has given debuts to seven players who came through the youth structure in Cobham already this season and Morris, who previously worked as an underage coach before becoming part of the first-team background staff, also believes a number of others are knocking on the door.
“There’s no getting away from the fact that I’m a homegrown player myself, a massive Chelsea fan,” he said. “There’s nothing better than seeing homegrown players come through. The fact we’ve had seven debutants coming through suggests we’re giving them a chance but at the same time it’s not just about giving debuts out. It’s whether you can get some regulars, people competing to start week-in week-out.
“Fortunately for us we have one of the best academies in the world. If anyone has an opportunity to get in, the level we are producing at this club is giving them a better chance of making that step. They have a better chance now Frank’s the manager compared to previously.”
However Morris said that Lampard will not be giving out debuts freely – opportunities must be earned and he has called on some of those on the fringes to prove their value in training to gain more chances.
“At the same time, just because they do well at 15,16, 17, doing it for the first team at Chelsea is really difficult,” he added. “Sometimes you come in and do really well because no one knows much about you.
“Then the real tough part comes when there are demands weekly, regular consistent demands. Whether you can live up to those expectations, only time will tell and only if you perform well enough at the beginning to stay in there.
“There’s some young lads here at the minute who certainly aren’t ready to play week-in week-out but at least they are…