Chelsea's brilliant 2017/18 FA Youth Cup final XI - where are they now?

FA Youth Cup Chelsea

Chelsea's starting 11 for the 2017-18 FA Youth Cup Final against Arsenal featured an incredible six players that have since become Premier League starters.

Over half of the Blues starting 11 are now playing for various clubs across the Premier League, including Chelsea, Crystal Palace, Brighton and Norwich.

The FA Youth Cup Final is played across two legs, unlike its senior version, as the game isn't played at a neutral venue. The starting 11 discussed in this article is from the first leg of the tie, played at Chelsea's home ground, Stamford Bridge.

Here is the full starting 11 that featured for the Blues in the final: Jamie Cumming, Tariq Lamptey, Reece James, Marc Guehi, Jonathan Panzo, Conor Gallagher, Tariq Uwakwe, Billy Gilmour, Charlie Brown, George McEachran, Callum Hudson-Odoi

Not a bad team, eh? So let's take a look at what's happened to each member of the XI since the FA Youth Cup final against Arsenal...

Jamie Cumming:

Jamie Cumming

Cumming is one of the five players from the eleven who is yet to make it to the top level, although it's not unusual for goalkeepers to progress to the first-team at a later age than most.

Cumming signed his first professional contract with the club in November 2018, which would keep him at Chelsea until the end of the 2020/21 season. Over the course of the next three seasons Cumming played eleven games for the under-21 team in EFL Trophy matches. Cumming was named on the bench for Chelsea's 4–1 Europa League Final victory over Arsenal in May 2019.

After making no first-team appearances for Chelsea, Cumming joined League Two on a one-year loan to Stevenage in August 2020. Cumming made 47 appearances throughout all competitions during the 2020/21 season, registering a total of 18 clean sheets.

In July 2021 a new loan deal was agreed for Cumming to join League One club Gillingham for the season. Cumming made 22 appearances for club but was recalled by Chelsea in January before immediately being sent to MK Dons on loan the same day.

Tariq Lamptey:

Tariq Lamptey

Like many of Chelsea's players to have graduated from the academy recently, Lamptey was given his first-team debut under Frank Lampard. The wing-back featured as a substitute in a Premier League match against Arsenal, and although he only featured for around 30 minutes, Lamptey put on a lively display to help Chelsea come from a goal behind to eventually win the match 2-1.

Unfortunately for the youngster, he would only make two more appearances for the club in the FA Cup wins over Nottingham Forest and Hull City. Although Lamptey was praised by fans and pundits alike, he struggled to tie down a first-team place after the emergence of Reece James. This, combined with the club's longstanding captain Azpilicueta also playing the role of right-back meant that Lamptey would eventually look elsewhere for an opportunity to gain more minutes.

In the 2020 January transfer window Lamptey permanently signed for Brighton & Hove Albion, on a three and a half year deal. Brighton manager Graham Potter described the youngster as a one-of-a-kind player saying: "He’s unique, isn’t he? There is not another Tariq, that’s for sure,”
He added: "He gives you physicality and speed in the wide areas, which keeps the opposition on their toes in that particular area of the pitch."

In January 2021 Lamptey signed a new deal with the Seagulls that will see him remain at the club until at least the end of the 2024/25 season.

Reece James:

Reece James

Within just a couple of months of the FA Youth Cup Final, James was sent on his first loan away from Chelsea to Wigan Athletic.

James performed brilliantly for the Championship side, even when switched from his favoured position mid-season. The defender would eventually be named in the Championship Team of the Season, also picking up Wigan's Player of the Year award.

James returned to Chelsea at the end of the season and became another academy product to debut under Lampard. After impressing in his debut and subsequent matches, James quickly became a permanent fixture in the first team. The Englishman became Chelsea's youngest goalscorer in the Champions League after finding the back of the net during a match against Ajax.

James has since made over 100 appearances for the Blues, and was an integral part of Chelsea's Champions League-winning side.

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Marc Guehi:

Marc Guehi

Guehi was yet another player to make his first-team debut under Lampard.

Guehi was first named in a Premier League squad in May 2019, but the youngster would have to wait until September to actually make his way off the bench. The defender would eventually make his professional debut in the EFL Cup during a 7-1 beating of Grimsby Town. His second and unfortunately last appearance for the London club would also come in the EFL Cup, this time featuring in a 2-1 loss to Manchester United.

In January 2020, the defender was loaned to Championship outfit Swansea for the remainder of the season. After a difficult start at the club, he would eventually start all five of the club's final games of the season, helping guide them to sixth place and a play-off spot. Guehi would sign another loan deal with the club for the 2020/21 season, becoming a regular feature in the Swansea defence. Only four Swansea players managed more minutes than the Chelsea youngster throughout the campaign.

After his successful loans at Swansea Guehi was eventually sold to Crystal Palace in July 2021 on a permanent deal. The defender signed a five-year contract with the Eagles for a reported fee of £18m, making him the club's third-most expensive signing of all time.

Jonathan Panzo:

Jonathan Panzo

Despite a promising career in the Chelsea academy, less than three months after the final, defender Panzo was permanently sold to Monaco for a £2.7m fee. Panzo made his senior debut in the fourth tier of French football for Monaco's B-team and would only feature a total of two times for the first-team.

In August 2019 Monaco arranged a one-season loan for to Belgian club Cercle Brugge. Panzo would only feature 17 times before returning to Monaco at the end of the season.

In August 2020 Panzo was linked with multiple Championship clubs including Derby County and Swansea City but would eventually be sold to Ligue 2 club Dijon for an undisclosed fee. Despite making 22 appearances for Dijon last season, Panzo was sent to the club's B-team for the 2021/22 season in the fifth tier of French football.

Conor Gallagher:

Conor Gallagher

After winning Chelsea's Academy Player of the Year for the 2018–19 season, Gallagher was sent on loan to Charlton Athletic in August 2019. During his first month at the club Gallagher scored three goals in six games and was awarded the English Football League's Young Player of the Month. Chelsea quickly realised Gallagher was ready to play at a higher level and recalled the youngster in January 2020 before sending him on loan to the Championship with Swansea.

Gallagher was a key figure for Swansea in their play-off bid and made 21 appearances under manager Steve Cooper in the second half of their campaign. Although the club and player were keen for a reunion, Chelsea ultimately decided to once again move Gallagher up to the next level, securing him a loan move to fellow Premier League club West Bromwich Albion.

Once again Gallagher had an impressive campaign, making a total of 32 appearances for the baggies across all competitions. Despite the club failing to retain its place in the Premier League, Gallagher's performances were recognised by West Brom as he won the Young Player of the Year award.

In July 2021, Gallagher was loaned to Premier League club Crystal Palace on a one-year deal. So far, the youngster has had an incredible start to his campaign, scoring six goals and registering four assists in 19 appearances across all competitions. His performances have been praised by fans, pundits and staff at the club. The Telegraph even described the young midfielder as 'one of the Premier League's most vibrant talents'.

After seeing the youngster impress at every club he's been at, it's hard to imagine that Gallagher won't make it into Chelsea's first team within the next couple of seasons.

Tariq Uwakwe:

Tariq Uwakwe

Uwakwe remained in the Chelsea youth setup for the 2018/19 season and featured 19 times across all competitions, scoring twice and assisting four more. In the 2019/20 season the midfielder only made 12 appearances for the club, netting just one goal in the Premier League 2.

In September 2020 Uwakwe agreed a loan deal with League One club Accrington Stanley. The Englishman scored a hat-trick on his club debut in the EFL Trophy against Leeds United U21s, and bagged another goal on his league debut just four days later.

In the current 2022 January transfer window Uwakwe has been linked with League One teams Portsmouth and Sheffield Wednesday.

Billy Gilmour:

Billy Gilmour

Gilmour was added to the long list of academy players debuted under Lampard after featuring as a substitute in a Premier League match against Sheffield United in August 2019. Gilmour made his first full 90-minute debut in the same Grimsby Town match that featured Marc Guehi's debut.

Despite never having been on loan the Scottish youngster was added to Chelsea's first team on a full-time basis in February 2020. Gilmour had an incredible start to his time in the first team as he was named Man of the Match in his first full appearances in the Premier League, FA Cup and Champions League.

After Thomas Tuchel took over the Blues, Gilmour would struggle for game time under the new manager. Eventually, in July 2021, a loan move was arranged for the midfielder to join fellow Premier League club Norwich City. Despite a promising start, Gilmour's minutes were reduced dramatically under then-manager Daniel Farke. Chelsea were reportedly considering a move to terminate the loan deal before Norwich appointed Dean Smith as manager. Gilmour was immediately reinstated into the starting lineup under Smith and has so far managed 14 appearances across all competitions.

Gilmour has currently returned to Chelsea during the January transfer window to have an ankle injury assessed by his parent club.

Charlie Brown:

Charlie Brown

Brown also remained within the Chelsea youth system following the 2017/18 season. A year later, at the end of the 2018/19 season Brown was awarded the Golden Boot for the UEFA Youth League after scoring an incredible 12 goals in 9 appearances.

In January 2020 Brown joined SG Union in the second division of Belgian football on loan until the end of the season. After making three appearances for the club the loan was extended for another year in July 2020. However, Brown was recalled after remaining unused for the opening months of the season.

In January 2021 Brown was sold on a permanent deal to League One club Milton Keynes Dons. Despite making 26 league appearances for the club, Milton Keynes sold the youngster to Cheltenham town in January 2022 for an undisclosed fee.

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George McEachran:

George McEachran

McEachran is yet to make an appearance for the Chelsea first-team but is still contracted to the club. McEachran was named in the Chelsea first-team squad for the 2019 Europa League Final but remained an unused substitute.

The following season McEachran spent a short time on loan in the Dutch second division with SC Cambuur, but was recalled after only making two appearances for the club.

McEachran would return to Dutch football in the 2020/21 season after agreeing a loan deal with MVV Maastricht, but in December 2020 the loan was terminated due to 'compelling private reasons'.

Callum Hudson-Odoi:

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Hudson-Odoi is the only player on this list to have nailed down a first-team place at Chelsea without ever having to leave the club on loan.

In January 2018, Hudson-Odoi made his first-team debut as a substitute in the FA Cup match against Newcastle United. His Premier League debut would also come just three days later against Bournemouth.

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In August 2018 Maurizio Sarri announced that Hudson-Odoi would remain with the first team and the player was handed the number 20 shirt. Despite interest from Bayern Munich in January 2019, Sarri announced that Hudson-Odoi would be remaining at the London club. The young winger would finish the 2018/19 season with 24 appearances across all competitions.

During the summer of 2019 Hudson-Odoi was once again the subject of interest from Bayern Munich, but after Lampard became manager in July, the forward agreed to remain at Chelsea.

Hudson-Odoi was used sporadically during the campaign under Lampard, and often only appeared as a substitute. This trend continued into the 2020/21 season until Tuchel was appointed as the club's new manager in January 2021.

Under Tuchel, Hudson-Odoi has become a regular starter in the first-team for the first time in his career. Tuchel has been tough on the youngster and tested his versatility, but this is still arguably the most promising time the Chelsea winger has spent at the club. It will be exciting to see whether the player can reach his full potential under the German manager.

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