Chelsea: Producing an abundance of academy stars this season

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea and Tammy Abraham of Chelsea celebrate victory during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 29: Callum Hudson-Odoi of Chelsea and Tammy Abraham of Chelsea celebrate victory during the Premier League match between Arsenal FC and Chelsea FC at Emirates Stadium on December 29, 2019 in London, United Kingdom. (Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images) /

Chelsea’s academy has produced some top talent. Some academy graduates have shined in first-team action this season.

Chelsea had produced academy graduates who are stars of the future, one’s who will impact top clubs for years to come. These academy graduates look to make a direct impact on Chelsea’s success, some of which have even been crucial to the Blues’ success in 2019/20.

This season, the Blues have given regular first team minutes to important players like Fikayo Tomori, Reece James, Mason Mount, Billy Gilmour, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham. Other academy graduates to feature are players like Tariq Lamptey. These stars from the academy have shown true promise, and credit to Frank Lampard’s incredible trust in youth.

Fikayo Tomori

The Chelsea centerback played well in place of Antonio Rudiger, who was absent due to injury early in the season. Because of this, Tomori quickly rose up the ranks. The academy graduate has has played a much bigger role than even he must’ve dreamt after spending last season in the Championship.

The 22-year-old’s progression is highlighted by his jump from the Championship to playing a crucial role in the Champions League in under a season. Tomori’s shocked the footballing world this season, making a name for himself in England with solid tackles and stunning goals. His lone goal was a screamer against Wolves from way outside the box, capping off a wonderful early season win for the Blues.

Tomori has fallen down the pecking order ever since Rudiger’s return, but he could be making regular appearances come next season. Even despite his lack of minutes recently, it’s hard to ignore the noise Tomori made early on.

Reece James

Reece James has been with the club for over a decade. He finally made his Chelsea first team debut in the Carabao Cup vs. Grimsby Town this season. James got his breakthrough opportunity when Cesar Azpilicueta was moved to left back. The 20-year-old made an immediate impact and has kept his starting role for the majority of the season for that reason.

The Chelsea right back though may be small, but his quickness, strength and adeptness make up for his minuscule stature. James is an ideal Lampard full back as his crossing abilities resemble those of Trent Alexander-Arnold.

Although James only debuted this season, he has immediately become a fan favorite for scoring the game tying goal to bring the Blues level with Ajax in a Champions League. Lampard—and the fans—have great expectations for James’ career at Chelsea going forward.

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Mason Mount

Mason Mount has made huge strides in his transition to being a regular member of the starting XI. Another player who was on loan at Derby last season, Mount has made nearly 40 appearances this season across all competitions.

The 21-year-old has played at such a high-level, he’s become one of Lampard’s most trusted midfielders. Mount’s got brilliant chance-creating abilities out of the middle of the park. He’s tallied six goals and six assists thus far this season.

The Blues midfielder spent a couple of years on loan before joining the first team. He had hard shoes to fill in his first season with the first team, trying to provide the goalscoring opportunities Chelsea lost with Eden Hazard. Although has not been dubbed the next Eden Hazard, he definitely has the potential to be. The speedster has exceeded expectations so far at Chelsea both in terms of performance and workload. So much so, he has played over 2,000 minutes, second only to Azpilicueta.

Billy Gilmour

Billy Gilmour has only recently become a first team regular, but has impressed nonetheless. The 18-year-old moved to the first team building permanently in February. Though he has only made four appearances this season, he has won Man of the Match in two of them. He played his first full match in Chelsea’s 7-1 thrashing of Grimsby Town in the EFL Cup.

Since then, Gilmour has been thrust into action in the absence of the injured N’Golo Kante. The Scot really begun to make his impact known in his past two appearances. In Chelsea’s 2-0 FA Cup victory versus Liverpool, the midfielder was tremendous. He looked, embraced his role as holding midfielder, dictated play throughout and won Man of the Match in one of the Blues’ biggest matches of the season.

In Gilmour’s next appearance, the London Blues thrashed Everton 4-0. Although Gilmour did not score, he put in another top performance and walked away with another MotM trophy as a result. The 18-year-old has made himself a part of Chelsea’s future plans as his play in four matches has turned heads worldwide. Lampard has high hopes for the youngster and it’s clear to see why.

Callum Hudson-Odoi

Although Callum Hudson-Odoi made his breakthrough last season, it ended early with a torn Achilles tendon. The winger made a relatively quick recovery by returning for his season debut on September 28 against Brighton and Hove Albion.

Despite recovering from his injury rather quickly, it seems as if the English winger has struggled to get back to full fitness and find his form. Hudson-Odoi scored his first goal for the senior side on January 11 against Burnley, months after his season debut. The 19-year-old has been progressing well, despite another battle with injuries mid-season.

Hudson-Odoi’s speed and dribbling skills are what make him lethal. Hudson-Odoi was seen as a potential Hazard successor, but has failed to live up to those expectations. The Blues winger signed a five-year deal right before his season debut, which was then seen a huge boost to Chelsea’s future. Going forward, Hudson-Odoi is touted to be a key member of Chelsea’s attacking front, but if he doesn’t find his feet soon, the Blues could look to the transfer market to find a replacement.

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Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham burst onto the scene early on this season, firing on all cylinders as he did with Aston Villa last season. Villa was Abraham’s third loan in as many years, but his breakout performance in the Championship—mixed with the Blues’ transfer ban—earned the 22-year-old a chance.

Abraham picked up right where he left off, scoring seven goals in the first five games of the season. The England international has slowed down since, with too much of a load being put on him, but he has started most of the season. The Blues are rumored to be searching for another striker, but they still view Abraham as the future. So far this season, he has scored 13 times, a team high.

Abraham took on a great deal of responsibility this season by taking the legendary No. 9 shirt. The striker has adapted perfectly into Lampard’s system. Although he has blossomed this year, the addition of a second striker would improve his individual performance and the team’s success. All in all, Abraham is a key part of Chelsea’s future regardless of whether or not another forward is brought in.

Tariq Lamptey

All it took for Tariq Lamptey was one senior match to get his career going. Lamptey was a part of the Chelsea academy from the age of seven and finally made his first team debut this season. He was another academy graduate who waited patiently for a first team opportunity when his chance finally came in December against Arsenal. Lamptey came on as a substitute and was rock solid, providing much needed energy on the right side. He only needed to play 31 minutes in order to draw interest from other clubs. A few days after his debut, Lamptey left for Brighton and Hove Albion on a three-and-a-half-year deal.

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Chelsea has produced some serious talent from its academy with Tomori, James, Mount, Gilmour, Hudson-Odoi, Abraham and Lamptey only representing the current group of stars. The Blues have a lot of up-and-coming talent who have yet to make in impact, but are foaming at the mouth to get their chance.