Cult Corner

What happened next? The Chelsea side that won Uefa Youth League in 2016

What happened next? The Chelsea side that won Uefa Youth League in 2016

Although too few young players are graduating to the first team at Chelsea, the club has to be commended for the work done in their academy, as their youth teams have been hugely successful in recent years.

Chelsea’s academy team has become accustomed to success over the past few campaigns, winning the FA Youth Cup five times since 2010, the Professional Development League three years running between 2014-2017 and the UEFA Youth League back-to-back in 2015 and 2016.

Last year’s UEFA Youth League success did not go without controversy – Valencia had a goal wrongly ruled out in a penalty shoot-out between the clubs in the Round of 16 – yet ultimately, they became the first club to retain the title, courtesy of a 2-1 win over PSG.

The UEFA Youth League which mirrors the format and fixtures of the Champions League but at U19 level was set up in 2013 to give young players greater experience and help accelerate their progress into senior football.

So a year on from their UEFA Youth League win, how have Chelsea’s starting players fared this season?

Goalkeeper: Bradley Collins

Age: 20

Current club: Chelsea U23

2016/17 appearances: 17

Bradley Collins has remained at Stamford Bridge this season but it no closer to breaking into the first-team picture with Thibaut Courtois and Asmir Begovic ahead of him. His appearances so far this season have come in the reserve league as well as the EFL Trophy.

Right Back: Dujon Sterling

Age: 17

Current club: Chelsea U18

2016/17 appearances: 25

The teenager started at full-back in the final against PSG and is widely regarded as one of the hottest prospects in world football. Predominately a right back, Sterling has also played centre-back, central midfield, out wide and as a second striker.

Centre Back: Jake Clarke-Salter

Age: 19

Current club: Bristol Rovers (on loan)

2016/17 appearances: 12

Jake Clarke-Salter partnered Tomori at the heart of the Blues’ defence in the final and even made his Premier League debut towards the end of last season as a substitute in the 4-0 win over Aston Villa.

He’s spent the campaign on loan at Bristol Rovers.

Centre Back: Fikayo Tomori

Age: 19

Current club: Brighton (on loan)

2016/17 appearances: 22 (14 for Chelsea U23, 8 for Brighton)

Fikayo Tomori’s performances at youth level caught the eye of Brighton and Hove Albion this season as he joined the Chris Hughton’s side on loan in January and he helped the Seagulls gain promotion to the Premier League.

Left Back: Ola Aina

Age: 20

Current club: Chelsea

2016/17 appearances: 9

Having impressed during pre-season under new manager Antonio Conte, the 20-year-old’s services were retained for the campaign in which he’s made two Premier League appearances so far and would need three more to be eligible for a winners’ medal should the Blues lift the title.

Centre Midfield: Charlie Colkett

Age: 20

Current club: Swindon Town

2016/17 appearances: 34 (17 for Bristol Rovers, 17 for Swindon Town)

Possessing a wand of a left-foot, Charlie Colkett has impressed in League One this season, initially with Bristol Rovers before joining Swindon Town in January.

Midfield: Mukhtar Ali

Age: 19

Current club: Vitesse Arnhem (on loan)

2016/17 appearances: 9 (5 for Vitesse, 4 for Jong Vitesse)

An industrious midfielder of Somalian descent, Mukhtar Ali became the latest in a long line of Chelsea players to join Eredivisie club Vitesse Arnhem, featuring five times in the Dutch top-flight.

Winger: Jacob Maddox

Age: 18

Current club: Chelsea U18

2016/17 appearances: 17

One of the youngest members of Chelsea’s team, Jacob Maddox has spent the campaign developing his game with Chelsea’s youth team.

Winger: Kyle Scott

Age: 19

Current club: Chelsea U23

2016/17 appearances: 17

As above, Kyle Scott has stuck around at Chelsea this term rather than learn the ropes on loan elsewhere. He joined the club from Southampton nearly a decade ago.

Second Striker: Kasey Palmer

Age: 20

Current club: Huddersfield Town (on loan)

2016/17 appearances: 26 (5 goals)

Kasey Palmer was a key squad player for Championship high-fliers Huddersfield Town before suffering an injury February. Looks to have an extremely bright future ahead of him.

Striker: Tammy Abraham

Age: 19

Current club: Bristol City (on loan)

2016/17 appearances: 45 (25 goals)

One of the leading goalscorers in the Championship this season, Tammy Abraham is perhaps the most likely player to break into the Blues first-team squad next season.

Whether he stays at Stamford Bridge next term or not, it is almost certain that Abraham will be lining up for a Premier League side with plenty of clubs monitoring his progress.

Chelsea