Former Manchester United youngster Kenny Strickland has signed a one-year deal as a third year academy scholar for the 2009/10 season at Chelsea. His arrival, after a trial period, comes as Rohan Ince faces a season on the sidelines with a serious injury.

Ince has been missing throughout pre-season and in the first team matchday programme for the Hull game, Dermot Drummy revealed that he has suffered a “pretty serious injury”. Whilst he didn’t go into further detail, it’s evident that he’ll be unavailable for a considerable period of time.

That’s where Strickland comes in. After a trial period in which he played against Rushden & Diamonds and Bristol City, he has penned a one-year youth deal. A Liverpudlian by birth, he came through the Manchester United academy, playing in the 2007 FA Youth Cup and Milk Cup Finals as a schoolboy, before penning scholarship forms two months later. Most often used at centre-back, he seemed better as a full-back when he did play there, perhaps due to his shorter height and slight frame. He plays a relatively solid and consistent game, but at United rarely showed any glimpses of something which would indicate a real future in the game.

He does add depth to a weak defensive corps which will undoubtedly miss Ince’s presence. Ben Sampayo and Danny Mills are the only natural centre-backs in the squad, and even then Sampayo looks more at home at full-back. Full-backs Tom Hayden, Aziz Deen-Conteh and George Saville can fill in if needed, but having another central player in the party will help.

Strickland’s profile will be going up on the site in the near future.