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Premier League clubs could learn from Chelsea's youth policy

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Chelsea's youth policy has been heavily criticised over the years but in recent seasons it could be argued that the club has the most progressive policy in the league. 

Last season the club took part in 40 loans. Some players went on several short loans and some went away for the full season. This meant that all of the players nearing the fringe of first-team football received ample game time in a competitive environment. 

The U21 league, FA Youth Cup and Next Gen Series all offer great opportunities for young players, but for building match confidence nothing can match being in a relegation dog fight or a scrap to win a Champions League spot. 

Romelu Lukaku is the shining example of just how much players can benefit from the loan system. The young Belgian went to West Brom and led the club to their best ever finish in the Premier League.

Dutch outfit Vitesse Arnheim have probably benefited the most from the west London club's loan policy, and a mutually beneficial relationship has developed between the club that gets stronger and stronger every season. 

Chelsea loan the club's prodigies to the Dutch side and Vitesse offer the young stars first-team action in a fairly competitive league, whilst increasing their squad depth with some of Europe's finest young talents. 

Last season the club saw three players, Tomas Kalas, Gael Kakuta and Patrick Van Aanholt head to Holland and they helped the club to a solid finish in the Eredivisie (4th).

Chelsea's links with Vitesse have led to the club fending off interest from around Europe and sealing the deal for last season's Dutch young player of the year, Marko Van Ginkel. 

The youngster was highly sought after due to last season's excellent performances for his club and the U21 side at this summer's tournament, and he looks set to star for Chelsea this season despite it being thought he may be one of the latest to benefit from the clubs loan system.

For the coming season the club has a multitude of options that feel like new signings. Players like Kevin De Bruyne, Lukaku and Nathaniel Chalobah have returned to the club after very successful seasons with their loan teams last season. 

Teams like Manchester United and Arsenal are scrabbling around trying to sort out the problem areas of their squads but can only turn to the academy to a certain extent. 

You can't expect a player like Nick Powell to come in and play 30 games for the first-team as he hasn't got the experience. 

Chelsea on the other hand have seven or eight players they can call upon who are ready or certainly very close to being ready for regular first-team football.  

This summer has seen another big chunk of players head out on loan again with Vitesse taking four players (Lucas Piazon, Van Aanholt, Kakuta and Cristian Cuevas) all with the promise of regular first-team football, and the chance to compete in the Europa League. 

When asked about his club for this season, Lucas Piazon said: "Vitesse is the right club for me to join, I hope to play a lot here. The Dutch Eredivisie is a league where I can show what I am capable of. 

"The last half year in Spain was a good experience, another type of football than I was used to in England. Therefore, I learned a lot."

Piazon is the perfect example of why the loan system is so great. The Brazilian has outgrown youth football but is still not ready to push for a place in the Chelsea first-team. Instead of training with the first-team and watching from the sidelines he now gets to spend a season away perfecting his game every week with the view to forcing his way into the side next summer. 

De Bruyne is an excellent player for him to emulate, he went to Werder Bremen without much expectation and in the end carried the team all season. 

The academy still has plenty of quality despite the heavy amount of loans as last season the Chelsea youth team made it to the Next Gen Series final beating Barcelona, Arsenal and Juventus on the way, despite having one of the youngest teams in the tournament. 

The club has a steady line of progression for the youngsters at the club and it gives the players something to aim for. 

I know if I was a young professional footballer I would much rather play every week for a big club, in front of a large crowd and try and make a name for myself than play reserve matches, hoping to get the odd training session with the first-team to try and get a match on the bench with the slight chance of 10 minutes at the end of the match.

 

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Topics:
England Football
Premier League
Football
Chelsea

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This article has been written by a member of the GiveMeSport Writing Academy and does not represent the views of GiveMeSport.com or SportsNewMedia. The views and opinions expressed are solely that of the author credited at the top of this article. GiveMeSport.com and SportsNewMedia do not take any responsibility for the content of its contributors.

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