Jamal Blackman can see the funny side when friends remind him that he is Chelsea’s longest-serving player. The 27-year-old was present for the club’s finest moment in 2012, holding the Champions League trophy on the Allianz Arena pitch, but he has not made a senior competitive appearance for the club he joined in 2006.
With his contract up at the end of June, the chances of that debut ever arriving seems slim but it would be wrong to presume that his experience of Chelsea’s loan army is negative. He first appeared on the bench in a Premier League game in 2011 but his only first-team action has come in friendlies.
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In that time there have been eight temporary moves and one serious leg injury.
The South Londoner is currently enjoying his time at Rotherham United, who are battling to stay in the Championship, and he feels strongly about the benefits of a system that will be scaled back once restrictions are implemented by Fifa next season.
“I get the jokes from friends. ‘Long-term player but never gotten a game’,” he tells football.london . “But I’ve experienced everything with Chelsea – I went to the Champions League final, have been part of the first-team set up, had great managers, trained with great players.
“That’s helped my own journey, taking those things and using them in my world as a professional. Being there such a long-time, you learn a lot. I’m fortunate to still be at Chelsea. I take it as a blessing, really.”
Rotherham are Blackman’s latest loan club and he has racked up more than 100 league appearances, from Sheffield to Sweden, but that is far better than being on the bench or third-choice at Stamford Bridge.
“I’ve always seen being on loan as a good thing,” he says. “Like any player you want to get as much experience as possible. You want to play football, whether…