It can be no coincidence that Chelsea’s upsurge in form has come alongside an increased trust in youthful players. A recent injection of youngsters has given the Blues an inventive edge that has seen them clamber back up the league.
With starlets such as Bertrand Traore, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kenedy stepping up to the plate, the future looks bright for the Blues.
However, with Guus Hiddink departing in the summer, it must be wondered whether this trust in youth will continue into 2016-17. Yet whoever the new manager may be, it would be unwise of them to turn their backs on Chelsea’s glimmering youth contingent.
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For years Chelsea have been criticised for neglecting their academy. However, a poor start to the season seemed to prove the long overdue motive for the Blues to inject youth into their side.
Had Jose Mourinho continued Chelsea’s imperious form of 2014-15 into this campaign, Kenedy and co. may still have been confined to the reserves.
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So amongst the turmoil of this campaign, the rise in academy stars is certainly a positive amidst the pain. It may just have proven the reality check needed for the club to begin investing in the future and not just the present.
Kenedy scored a superb goal against Norwich City after just 39 seconds in a 2-1 win and Traore found the net for the fourth time this season versus Stoke. Both are 20-years-old and have fought their ways into the first team.
Not only have the youngsters been bagging vital goals but the contingent have impressed across the pitch. Loftus-Cheek is a prime example of an academy player doing the dirty work unnoticed and in immaculate fashion.
This trend may come under threat upon the arrival of a new manager however. It would certainly be a shame as Hiddink’s risky faith in youth has reaped great rewards and is evidence for ‘who dares wins’.
While bolstering the squad with some established foreign players would be far from a detriment to the Blues, they must ensure this doesn’t smother the presence of youth.
It’s the younger players that truly know what it means to play for the Blue jersey and this will be key in forming a team, not a collage of individuals. If Chelsea simply throw their money around aimlessly in the transfer window, they may face another turbulent season.
Whoever will become Chelsea’s next permanent manager must find the perfect balance between experience and youth. How this is achieved is up for debate but it cannot be denied that shutting out Traore and co. would only be a step backwards for a club trying to find their feet again in the Premier League.
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