Chelsea's incredible XI of players who featured in their youth ranks

  • Kobe Tong

Chelsea have top-class youngsters here, there and everywhere in English football and beyond.

While the likes of Reece James and Mason Mount are doing the business in the famous blue jersey right now, the club’s famous loan system is ensuring that other young stars are getting game time elsewhere.

It’s honestly scary to think that the Blues can casually just recall Conor Gallagher and Armando Broja from what have been truly eye-catching seasons out on loan with Crystal Palace and Southampton.

So much quality from Chelsea’s academy

Marry that to Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham both flying high in Serie A having come through the Chelsea academy and you’d be forgiven for getting the feeling that all roads lead back to Stamford Bridge.

In fact, there are so many links to the all-conquering Chelsea academy that we’ve decided to pause for a second and wonder just how many fingerprints their youth system has left all over the modern game.

The answer, in case you’re wondering, is absolutely tonnes with Transfermarkt’s database on the most valuable players to have come through the Chelsea academy making for an incredible list of success stories.

Best XI of players who featured in Chelsea’s youth ranks

Such was the level of star quality that our imagination got the better of us and we decided to draw up what we consider to be the best XI of current players who have come through Chelsea’s youth system.

It’s impossible to keep track of every single footballer’s youth career, so we’re leaning into Transfermarkt’s records here with any player who came through the system – as opposed to needing to have graduated or made a first-appearance for Chelsea – qualifying for selection.

Got it? Right then, well, prepare to be taken aback by just how much the Chelsea academy has left an impact on English football and beyond by checking out their best XI of youth products below:

GK: Neil Etheridge

Ok, don’t judge the XI by the goalkeeper because this is admittedly the weakest position in the team, but Etheridge – who has been capped 65 times for the Philippines – still performed soundly in the Premier League with Cardiff City.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Cardiff City v Crystal Palace – Cardiff City Stadium, Cardiff, Britain – May 4, 2019 Cardiff City’s Neil Etheridge looks dejected after the match as they are relegated from the Premier League Action Images via Reuters/Craig Brough EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

RB: Reece James

It’s crazy to think that James has propelled himself from Championship football to one of the world’s best right-backs in barely two and a half seasons. However, simply put, it’s just a measure of his top-class ability.

CB: Fikayo Tomori

Tomori’s Chelsea career might have ended on a whimper, but he’s the one laughing now as he sits atop the Serie A table with over 50 AC Milan appearances to his name, attracting praise from Franco Baresi along the way.

Soccer Football – Serie A – Cagliari v AC Milan – Sardegna Arena, Cagliari, Italy – March 19, 2022 AC Milan’s Fikayo Tomori celebrates after the match REUTERS/Alberto Lingria

CB: Andreas Christensen

Christensen might only have played in Chelsea’s youth ranks at the back end of his development, but he nevertheless fought through the club’s loan system to become the sturdy pair of hands with over 150 appearances that we know today.

LB: Nathan Ake

A Premier League winner with both Chelsea and Manchester City, Ake might not have become the elite defender that Pep Guardiola must have imagined he was, but he’s still thrived off his education at the Bridge.

Soccer Football – Carabao Cup – Round of 16 – West Ham United v Manchester City – London Stadium, London, Britain – October 27, 2021 West Han United’s Nikola Vlasic and Manchester City’s Nathan Ake react Action Images via Reuters/Peter Cziborra EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

CM: Declan Rice

There must be a few members of Chelsea’s youth staff kicking themselves for letting Rice go because he’s gone onto become one of the first names on England’s team-sheet and a truly top-class holding midfielder.

CM: Conor Gallagher

Brace yourselves, ladies and gentlemen, because 2021/22 is the year that Gallagher announced himself to the world, competing for ‘signing of the season’ status such has been his impact at Crystal Palace.

Soccer Football – Premier League – Crystal Palace v Manchester City – Selhurst Park, London, Britain – March 14, 2022 Crystal Palace’s Conor Gallagher during the warm up before the match Action Images via Reuters/Andrew Couldridge EDITORIAL USE ONLY. No use with unauthorized audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or ‘live’ services. Online in-match use limited to 75 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club /league/player publications. Please contact your account representative for further details.

CM: Mason Mount

Much like James, Mount’s step up from Championship footballer to Premier League baller just served to underline his electric skills and ability. There’s now good reason to think he’s one of the club’s most consistent players.

RW: Callum Hudson-Odoi

It’s easy to forget that ‘CHO’ is still only 21 years old because making over 120 appearances for Chelsea without any loan spells, and across several playing positions to boot, by that age is a status reserved for truly talented individuals.

Soccer Football – Champions League – Round of 16 First Leg – Chelsea v Lille – Stamford Bridge, London, Britain – February 22, 2022 Chelsea’s Callum Hudson-Odoi with the Club World Cup trophy before the match REUTERS/David Klein

ST: Tammy Abraham

Should Chelsea have held onto Abraham as opposed to signing Romelu Lukaku? When Blues fans see him smashing home 23 goals in 40 outings for Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma, it’s hard not to ponder the thought.

LW: Jamal Musiala

One of the world’s most exciting young players with a transfer value knocking on the door of £50 million, the 19-year-old already boasts nine caps for Germany and 13 goals for Bayern Munich. The one that got away…

Soccer Football – Bundesliga – Bayern Munich v Borussia Moenchengladbach – Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany – January 7, 2022 Bayern Munich’s Jamal Musiala in action REUTERS/Andreas Gebert DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO.

Bench: Jamal Blackman, Tariq Lamptey, Trevoh Chalobah, Marc Guehi, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Jérémie Boga and Armando Broja

An incredible batch of talent

Ok, so, give or take the goalkeeping options, it’s fair to say that Chelsea have put on a conveyor belt of youth talent that either themselves or clubs around the world have been able to make the most of.

Besides, it’s a mind-boggling testament to all the incredible options that we had on our plate that there wasn’t even room for the likes of Tino Livramento, Bertrand Traore and Billy Gilmour on the bench.

So, no matter where the uncertain future of Chelsea Football Club takes them in the coming months and years, they can at least rest easy knowing that they’ve clearly done something right with their academy system.

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