What happened to the Chelsea youth revolution?

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Andre Villas-Boas was on a hiding to nothing when he joined Chelsea last summer, it would seem.


No sooner had the former Porto boss arrived at Stamford Bridge and attempted implement a change that would see the Chelsea squads average age drastically reduced, he was shown the door.


Now with former Blues midfielder Roberto di Matteo at the helm, the old guard are back and the youngsters have found themselves marginialsed – so where are the men that were meant to hearlad a youth revolution at Stamford Bridge now?


Oriol Romeu


For a brief time, Romeu was heralded as the leader of the young guns at Stamford Bridge.


The 20-year-old former Barcelona star wasn’t cut from the same cloth as his Catalan colleagues but earned rave reviews for presence in the Chelsea midfield and his ability to screen in front of the back four and even told The Guardian in an interview in January that being at Chelsea felt like a ‘natural fit’.


The La Masia product set Chelsea back £4.5 million (although the deal is not as straight forward as that) and was able to pip Frank Lampard and Raul Meireles to a spot in the first team in the lead up to Christmas.


However he has not been seen since February when he came on in the 3-3 draw with Manchester United and looked out of his depth, although he has had to contend with a knee injury in that time.


Will he make the grade?

Romeu was chased by Villas-Boas when he was at Porto so it is probably no surprise that he has gone off the radar since the 34-year-old’s sacking. Is highly unlikely to feature much in the remainder of the season.


Romelu Lukaku


Another outrageously talented youngster snapped up by Chelsea after quickly becoming one of the hottest properties on the market, Lukaku earned a cult following during his time with Anderlecht and garnered the nickname ‘mini Drogba’ for his rampaging style.


While he is highly rated – Chelsea parted way with a reported £18 million for his services -  he is another who has failed to break through and been forced to watch as original Drogba continues on in the first team.


Will he make the grade?


Has all the talent but has made only five Premier League appearances this season having been linked with a loan spell away from Stamford Bridge. Carlo Ancelotti said recently of Didier Drogba that he ‘swallows up’ competitors and Lukaku may be hoping he moves on in order to get his chance despite his admiration for the Ivorian.


Daniel Sturridge


One of the few young success stories at Chelsea this season, although there still some question marks hanging over the former Manchester City forward’s head.


Sturridge spearheaded Chelsea’s attack for much of the early part of the season but has seen the goals dry up of late having been regularly deployed in an unfamiliar wider position.


Having quickly reached ten goals for the season before Christmas the 22-year-old to become Chelsea’s leading goal scorer, but has found the back of the net just once since then, in the F.A Cup.


Will he make the grade? Has already made the grade and has played 36 games for his club, prompting Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini to admit the Citizens should never have let him go.


However his finishing is sometimes errant, and with Didier Drogba, Fernando Torres and a host of big names linked with a move to Chelsea, if he wants a leading strikers role he may have to look elsewhere.


Gael Kakuta


When Kakuta joined Chelsea in 2007 he was at the centre of a storm of controversy following his switch from Lens, with Chelsea desperate to secure the services of the player who caught the eye of Michael Ballack while playing alongside him for the reserves.


In his first season with the Blues, Kakuta inspired them to the final of the FA Youth Cup but has so far been unable to translate his potential into a regular spot with the first team.


Now 20-years-old, Kakuta has been farmed out on loan to three separate clubs including Fulham and Bolton having made just six league appearances for Chelsea and is currently plying his trade with Dijon.


Will he make the grade? Having joined at such a young age, the fact he hasn’t really broken through to Chelsea’s first team yet is a real worry.


His talent is undeniable but his diminutive stature may mean the Premier League isn’t the natural home for the Frenchman.


Josh McEachran

The only youngster on our list to have made his way up through the youth system, McEachran was never really given his chance to shine under Villas-Boas, with the English teenager making just two league appearances for the Blues.


Now on loan with Swansea the 19-year-old is gaining valuable Premier League experience, and is expected to feature more heavily at Stamford Bridge next season.


Will he make the grade? Is certainly expected to step up into the first team but once more will be stifled if he cannot break into a team full of experienced players who are reluctant to make way and with manager afraid of making changes and suffering the consequences.

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