Jody Morris believes Billy Gilmour and Marc Guehi possess the required talent to become future regulars in Chelsea’s first-team squad.
Frank Lampard has already given debuts to seven academy products this season, including Gilmour and Guehi, but only Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount can be considered guaranteed starters when the head coach is naming his strongest XI.
Fikayo Tomori is near that list, too, while Callum Hudson-Odoi is expected to overcome his recent slump and become a vital component in the future.
Yet asked which other academy players that can make another step up, Morris named Scotland Under-21 midfielder Gilmour and the England Under-21 centre back Guehi, both of whom could feature in Sunday’s FA Cup third round game against Nottingham Forest.
They have both featured in the Carabao Cup this season, with Gilmour also appearing from the bench in the Premier League.
“They’re doing really well – especially Billy and Marc,” the assistant manager said of the academy players on the fringes of the senior side. “They’ve been in and around the squad a lot and whenever they’ve trained with us, they’ve trained at a particularly high level.
“Billy was ill on Friday so he didn’t train with us, which he might have done if he was around. But that’s what you want – you want players maybe not in and around the squad a lot, but when they are called in to either train to be involved in squads, they’re ready to go.
“Those two in particular have been performing at a level and have the mentality where they’re ready to go whenever called upon.
“Even if it’s a last-minute call like [Tariq] Lamptey got against Arsenal. That’s how they breed them in the academy, but they’ve got to make sure they’re ready and prepared for whenever the call comes, because you never know when it can happen.”