What went wrong?
It’s 2011, McEachran is now a part of Ancelotti’s first team squad and is regularly being picked to travel with the senior squad. He would go on to make 17 appearances for the team that season and pick up the award for the club’s Young Player of the Year. Life was good, what could go wrong?
A lot of the Blues’ past troubles could be narrowed down to their ruthless nature. It was ruthlessness that saw them sell the likes of Kevin De Bruyne and Romelu Lukaku. It was ruthlessness that saw them ship off Mohamed Salah to Italy after just one year. It was ruthlessness that saw them sack Ancelotti in 2011, despite the club finishing second the previous season.
Andre Villas-Boas was chosen as the one to replace Ancelotti in the Stamford Bridge hot seat. The club went down a path it had traversed before in appointing him as its new manager. He was Portuguese and had coached Porto to a league and European cup double. When people began to see him as the second coming of Mourinho, what choice did Abramovich have but to bring him to west London? We have the benefit of hindsight, as such, we know that Villas-Boas’ reign unravelled within months of him signing for Chelsea. The young coach was far too inexperienced at that point in his career. It was that inexperience, perhaps, that saw him alienate some of the senior players of the squad.
McEachran was not a senior player in 2011. However, he was among the ones frozen out by the novice head coach. Had he not been overlooked by the manager, he still would have had to face the mammoth task of displacing some of the first team regulars. Ahead of him in the pecking order was Frank Lampard, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien, Raul Meireles and Juan Mata.
Not wanting to waste the midfielder’s talents, the Blues did what they do with their youngsters when they come of age—they sent him out on loan. A spell at Swansea came first, followed by one at Middlesbrough. Watford, Wigan and Vitesse would be added to McEachran’s resume before the youngster decided he had had enough.