We’ll finish our review of the season by taking a look forward to next season, where things will change on a pretty large scale.
The 2009 summer will see an almost unprecedented scholarship intake of at least twelve players, perhaps as many as fifteen or sixteen. The vast majority of these players are local, English-born players who have grown at Chelsea and been part of a successful Under-16 team. They’ve also been pushing into the Under-18s at times this season, so for next year, expect to see and hear far more from Josh McEachran, Billy Clifford, Rohan Ince, Milan Lalkovic, Aziz Deen-Conteh and others who have made the step up early.
You’ll be able to read the most comprehensive views on the next generation exclusively on CFCnet on the day Chelsea officially announce the new crop, with full profiles for each of the newcomers. Naturally, such a large intake means a heavy Under-18 squad, with the opportunity for some of those performing well to make the step into Paul Clement’s Reserves. This means Nikki Ahmed, Daniel Philliskirk, Jacopo Sala and others should be looking to mainly be involved on Monday nights instead of Saturday mornings for the next twelve months and more. That, in turn itself, will allow the likes of Nana Ofori-Twumasi and Michael Woods to get much-needed loan moves.
It’s early to suggest projected line-ups for next season, but it’s also great fun at the same time. So, if you’re following the teams next year, or hope to, this could be what you’re watching:
Under 18s: Sam Walker, Tom Hayden, Rohan Ince, Danny Mills, Aziz Deen-Conteh, Anton Rodgers, Josh McEachran, James Ashton, Gokhan Tore, Milan Lalkovic, Marko Mitrovic
Reserves: Jan Sebek, Nikki Ahmed, Jeffrey Bruma, Sam Hutchinson, Patrick van Aanholt, Conor Clifford, Daniel Philliskirk, Jacob Mellis, Frank Nouble, Gael Kakuta, Fabio Borini
It promises to be yet another intriguing and entertaining year in youth development at Chelsea Football Club. As ever, you’ll be able to keep up to date with everything going on at CFCnet and on the CFCnet Forums.