Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel called in several players from the club’s academy to train with the first team prior to the weekend’s Crystal Palace game. The Blues’ recent injury problems are not unknown, as their premier league campaign suffered due to it. Moreover, the coronavirus infection to many first-team players also left Tuchel with limited options at his disposal. As a result, the German turned to the club’s Cobham academy as his predecessors did.
Chelsea have emerged as one of the leading clubs with the finest academies in the country. Since Roman Abramovic took over the club in 2003, Chelsea has handed a debut to a massive 50 academy graduates. The recent ones who have become regulars with the first-team include Mason Mount, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Andreas Christensen. This season too, a total of three academy players made their debut for Chelsea.
Chelsea academy players in first-team training
Injuries have come in rather handy for Thomas Tuchel. It started with Ben Chilwell’s ACL injury in November last year which ended his season. Since December, a total of 8 first-team players missed several games due to injuries or the coronavirus. It crippled Chelsea’s premier league performance as they only managed to win 4 games out of 11 contested in December and January. Moreover, in a fresh and huge blow, Mason Mount suffered an ankle injury in the Club World Cup final. Tuchel also admitted that it looked worse. As a result, Jude Soonsup-Bell and Charlie Webster from the Cobham academy were seen training with the first team among many others. Midfielders Xavier Simons and Harvey Vale also trained with the first team in the month of December.
Chelsea boss Tuchel looked for academy players to play in the club’s cup fixtures in December and January after injury problems. Chelsea had five cup games, including one FA Cup game and 4 League Cup games in the last couple of months. Xavier Simons, Harvey Vale and striker Jude Soonsup-Bell all made their debuts against Brentford in the quarter-final of the League Cup. Vale continued to play for the first team, as he went on to make two more appearances. The midfielder came off the bench against Tottenham in the first leg of the League Cup semi-final, and against Chesterfield in the FA Cup 3rd round.
Club recalls another academy player
Recently, left-wing back Dylan Williams was also called back from his loan spell with Derby County in the winter transfer window. Initially, it was thought he would cover for Marcos Alonso but has only played with the club’s Under-23s. Tuchel is reportedly keeping tabs on the youngster’s development with the Under-23s and could call him up anytime as a back-up to Marcos Alonso. Williams played a total of 8 games for Derby under manager Wayne Rooney.
But for now, Tuchel is happy with Hudson-Odoi replacing Alonso on the left-wing position. In a boost for the Chelsea manager, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Reece James also returned to full training and are in contention to make a comeback against Crystal Palace. However, Mason Mount is set to miss the game, but the club is hopeful he makes it in time for the League Cup final against Liverpool later this month.