Chelsea: Future XI
A look at a potential Chelsea XI, starring the likes of Juan Mata, Marco van Ginkel & Romelu Lukaku
Here is a look at the possible Chelsea side in a few years if Jose Mourinho decides to drop golden oldies like Frank Lampard, John Terry and Petr Cech to allow other players get their time to shine.
Assuming that Mourinho will take on the 4-2-3-1 formation that the Blues used over the course of the 2012/13 season, here is a possible look at the team of the future.
Goalkeeper: Thibaut Courtois | 21
A fantastic prospect, Courtois has been on loan at Atletico Madrid for two years and is returning for his third spell at the third-placed club in the Spanish La Liga.
Courtois was in goal when Madrid beat Chelsea a net-busting 4-1 in the European Super Cup.
At such a young age, he was chosen as the goalkeeper of the season in the Spanish league when up against much more experienced goalkeepers is quite an achievement.
Right-back: Cesar Azpilicueta | 23
After moving to Marseille, Azpilicueta managed 27 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea in his first season.
He has great defensive strengths and is also very fluid in going forward and sending in a beautiful cross.
Without a doubt, if Azpilicueta can keep his form up and continue to improve he could become a leading right-back in the Premier League.
Centre-back: Gary Cahill | 27
Gary Cahill - possibly the only true centre-back left, excluding John Terry.
He is a clear favourite to replace the Chelsea captain in the heart of their defence. With both speed and strength, Cahill is not as skilful as others but has a real passion and drive that helps the team feel confident all over the pitch.
Like Terry, Cahill is able to go up at corners and score headers from set-pieces. At least for a few more years, or unless another defender is brought in, Cahill is a must for the Chelsea defence.
Centre-back: David Luiz | 26
Mixing both Brazilian flair and rock-hard defending, David Luiz is an inspiring centre-back.
Maybe preferred to be played as a defensive midfielder by some, Luiz would still be able to attack if a midfielder stayed back to cover for him.
The Brazilian would light up any team he plays for with his incredible long-range shots and his thumping free-kicks.
With two rock solid centre-backs who are both useful in attack, the partnership of Luiz and Cahill could lead Chelsea back to the amazing defensive stats they used to reach.
Left-back: Ryan Bertrand | 23
Ryan Bertrand has come through the Chelsea academy and is beginning to establish himself as the follower to Ashely Cole.
Making nearly 40 appearances for the Blues last time around, Bertrand is now looking to build on that and make the left-back spot his own.
Reaching just under 40 appearances for Chelsea last season, Bertrand is definitely headed on the right track to becoming the next Ashley Cole.
Bertrand loves to take the ball and run up the field much like Cole and will be a very dangerous player with his speedy runs down the wing.
Defensive midfield: Marco van Ginkel | 20
Marco van Ginkel is at a young age and is already aspiring for first-team action for a club like the Europa League champions.
With plenty of time to gain experience to learn from fellow teammate Frank Lampard, Van Ginkel looks the most likely player at the Chelsea who is capable to re-create the amazing moments that Lampard reached.
The Dutch youngster is a box-to-box midfielder and is able to help out in defence as well as attack.
With the ability to execute well-timed surges up the pitch, he also has a great eye for goal and a tactical mind. He is also very comfortable defending, making him perfect for this position.
A quick-thinking and physically imposing player, he should comfortably slot into Mourinho's future plans.
Defensive midfield: Ramires | 26
Ramires may not be the towering figure of Marouane Fellaini and may not have the greatest tackling abilities of other defensive midfielders, but the Brazilian uses his pace and determination to win the ball in the defence.
He always give everything on the pitch and uses his blazing runs to carve open spaces in the opposition defence.
Ramires is a fantastic player for Chelsea and although maybe not recognised as well as Eden Hazard and Juan Mata, he does have his moments of brilliance - the wonderful chipped goal against Barcelona in the semi-finals of the Champions League as case in point.
Right attacking midfield: Eden Hazard | 22
Eden Hazard needs no introduction - a skilful and eye-boggling Belgian midfielder, the youngster is becoming one of the hottest prospects of the Premier League.
In his first season at Chelsea he was nominated for both Player and Young Player of the Season.
Quick on his feet and able to strike a thunderous shot, Hazard is a rising star of the footballing world and Mourinho should do what he can to keep him at the club for many years to come.
If Hazard continues his fine form and is able to develop more as a player, it is just a matter of time before he is a Chelsea superstar.
Central attacking midfielder: Juan Mata | 25
Much like Hazard, Chelsea's two time Player of the Season also should be no surprise inclusion.
Mata has become the heart and soul of the Chelsea attack, with true Spanish creativity Mata can pick a pass out of nowhere and is able to set up players all over the pitch.
Mata is undoubtedly a must for Chelsea in the years to come.
Left attacking midfielder: Andre Schurrle | 22
Andre Schurrle is a young talent who is already a part of the German national team.
At 22, he is one striker who has already developed brilliant positioning and deadly finishing skills.
Well known for cutting into the middle of the pitch and firing a thunderous shot at goal, if Schurrle can replicate the form he had at Leverkusen and further improve on that, he will be a great asset for the Chelsea midfielder which is filled with talented young players.
Striker: Romelu Lukaku | 20
Romelu Lukaku is already a commanding striker in the Premier League. With incredible displays both at Anderlecht and on loan at West Brom last season, Lukaku is becoming a incredible striker, blending strength, pace and skill together.
He is a very physical player but is also possibly more skilful than Didier Drogba. Lukaku has scored goals almost for fun in Chelsea's pre-season campaign of Asia and should be looked greatly upon as the next Chelsea target man for years to come.
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