John Terry has described Robert Wolleaston as the best Chelsea youth player to never represent their senior team.
Wolleaston, 40, ended a 16-year playing career last September having last turned out for non-league Weymouth.
The journeyman career of Robert Wolleaston: Five key things to know…
- Wolleaston began at Chelsea’s youth academy but never played for their first-team.
- He’d leave in 2003 to join Bradford City, where he only made 28 senior appearances
- Wolleaston subsequently represented Oxford United, Cambridge United, Rushden & Diamonds and Farnborough before joining Weymouth.
- The 40-year-old Londoner hung up his boots in September 2019.
- Terry believes he’s the best Chelsea academy graduate to not enjoy a professional career at the club.
He’d initially leave the Blues in 2003, joining Bradford City as a free agent, before embarking on a journeyman career that saw him sign for Oxford United, Cambridge United, Rushden & Diamonds and Farnborough.
A contrast to Terry, who remains the poster boy for the club’s esteemed academy, once breaking through he’d go on to amass over 700 first-team appearances, lifting five Premier League titles as captain.
The appointment of ex-teammate and fellow club legend Frank Lampard has seen a number of former graduates hold down a regular starting berth at Stamford Bridge — notably Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham.
Terry, though, feels Wolleaston could have made a similar impact given his exceptional abilities, but believes the inability for him to push himself ultimately cost the London-born midfielder a future with the Blues.
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“Probably a boy called Rob Wolleaston at Chelsea,” he said during an Instagram Q&A.
“He was like a midfielder/winger, had so much ability. I still know Rob now, but mentally he didn’t have that to go and push himself.
“He got chosen to train with the first team at a really young age, 17 or 18, did really well and (Ruud) Gullit told him he was going to play in the first team in a cup game.
“He then phoned up on the day of the game and said he was sick. All of us, if we were sick or felt like we were at the end of the world, we would have still gone and played the game, we wouldn’t have given up that opportunity.”