News in tonight’s Chelsea matchday programme has confirmed that young defender Tom Hayden has chosen to leave Chelsea ahead of his contract expiry this summer in order to pursue his academic career.

Tom has been at Chelsea since the age of 12 and worked his way through the junior ranks to earn a scholarship back in 2008. A former winger, he settled at right-back for the Under-16 team and took up the same role in the Under-18 team. Always a dependable and solid defender capable of filling in across the back line, he never really made an impact, largely because of his academic prowess. As the only member of the academy squad taking on a full set of A-Levels, he was often filling in time training late or only just making sessions as he dashed from college, something he revealed last season in the Chelsea Official Magazine.

His first youth team goal came as a schoolboy in an away fixture at Ipswich and he made a total of 27 appearances for the Under-18s, with ten of those (seven starts) coming this season. With no professional deal on the horizon, Tom has taken it upon himself to leave the club ahead of time and fully focus on his future outside of football – at least on the playing side. He hopes to progress into the field of sports science, and Chelsea would be open to welcoming him back in such a capacity.

CFCnet wishes Tom the very best in his future endeavours.

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