Assistant coach Ray Wilkins believes Chelsea fans have already warmed to teenage midfielder Josh McEachran.

The 17-year-old McEachran, a product of the Blues' youth system, only made his competitive debut for the club last month when he was a substitute in the 4-1 Champions League win away to Slovakian side Zilina. But Wilkins believes the rookie, who has made three Barclays Premier League appearances since, has already shown enough to convince the Chelsea fans he is a player for the future.

"It is lovely for everyone when a home-grown guy comes through," Wilkins said.

"That has been the case with all the young lads who have come on this season and last season. The crowds have taken to them straight away.

"There seems to be an affiliation with the supporter that is lovely to watch."

It has been a breakthrough year for the Oxford-born teenager who also helped England Under-17s win the European Championship before earning an Under-19 call-up.

And Wilkins has been impressed at how McEachran has taken it in his stride, after himself treading the same path at Stamford Bridge before making his Blues debut almost 37 years ago.

"It is an exciting time, coming on to make your debut," Wilkins added on the club's official website www.chelseafc.com.

"It is not the right word to say I sympathise with Josh but I can remember that nervous situation you go through when you come on.

"I get thrilled for him and thankfully he does not appear to show too many nerves."

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