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Man City’s Champions League ban proves Chelsea’s youth approach is the right step forward

On Monday, Chelsea’s Under 18 side team demolished Wolverhampton Wanderers 7-0 in the FA Youth Cup to earn a quarter-final tie against Millwall, in pursuit of their eighth trophy in ten years.

Two of the side, Ian Maatsen and captain Tino Anjorin have already played for the first team. One wonders how long it might be for Marcel Lewis, who scored a hat-trick and striker Armando Broja to make the step up.

Low risk games are running out this season, so in all likelihood it might not be until next season that we see them getting first team opportunities and that of course will depend on whether or not they get a loan to another club in the summer.

But where there was once a dead end, now for Chelsea youth players there is hope; thanks to the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James playing regular first team football this season.

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Due to the peculiar circumstances of Chelsea’s transfer ban in the summer, we all knew that Frank Lampard would have to bring through some of the youth players in to the first team.

Frank’s track record at Derby County showed us that he was a manager who would trust the youth if they were good enough. With Jody Morris as his assistant, the former Chelsea youth coach was also perfectly placed to assess who might be good enough to be given a chance and would have the day to day knowledge of them to back it up.

This is a far cry from the days of Chelsea managers who would not even acknowledge the existence of Chelsea’s much lauded academy system, let alone provide a pathway for them to the first team.

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Already this season, while not all of them have been promoted to Chelsea’s Premier League squad, some like Broja have been invited to train with them to get a flavour of what the expectations are as a first team…

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