Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is poised to end his side’s season against Watford on Sunday and two young stars could be given their chance to impress agains the relegated Hornets – while a third hopes to impress in pre-season
Chelsea boss Tuchel has got one of Europe’s best academies at his disposal and some of the brightest youngsters within the club’s ranks. These players may get a bigger role in the future if Chelsea’s new ownership increase the already admirable reliance on homegrown talent rather than big name signings.
But there are exciting young players at the academy, and out on loan, destined to go far. Here’s a look at the the best prospects who could feature in their final game of the season away at Watford on Sunday, and potentially even make themselves part of the first-team setup next season.
The 18-year-old is a versatile forward who can operate in several different positions and is showing every sign of following in the footsteps of academy graduates like Mason Mount, Reece James, Conor Gallagher and Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel has already given him first team minutes this season and he has represented England at under-16s through to 19s. He has also played at wing back, can play wide or further forward and his versatility may be appealing to Tuchel because of the back three system that he has used since taking charge.
Vale has one year left on his current deal, there is definite excitement building about him and he has also shown good leadership qualities for the under-18s while he has played also at under-23s and in the cups for the first team. He is definitely seen as the next young one to step up.
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Teenager Lewis Hall made history by becoming the club’s youngest player to start an FA Cup game at the age of just 17 years and 122 days against Chesterfield. Incredibly, Hall impressed – and provided an assist for Romelu Lukaku in the win – at centre back when he is really a natural midfielder.
He played the full 90 minutes and has clocked up the minutes in all academy competitions while playing at under-15s, 16s and 18s for England. Hall joined Chelsea at six years old Hall and can play at left back, midfield or centre-half but his confidence and composure at first team level has made him one to watch.
Hall is surpassing expectations and, along with Charlie Webster, is one to watch as an academy graduate making sharp progress even if regular first team opportunities may be some way off.
Okay, so not eligible to face Watford but the 20-year-old is one to watch next season because he has been so impressive out on loan at Southampton this year, netting nine goals in 35 appearances while proving he can handle himself at Premier League level.
Conor Gallagher has also shone while out on loan at Crystal Palace and the two academy graduates will definitely train with Chelsea this summer with Thomas Tuchel admitting publicly this week he will decide what is best for them after watching them closely. Gallagher has already been called up for England’s senior squad and the future looks bright for him whether it is at Chelsea or not.
But Broja has perhaps exceeded expectations and has gained a lot of admiring glances from other clubs who may be interested in taking him next season or permanently. However, Chelsea may be looking for attacking options this summer and Southampton boss Ralph Hasenhuttl insists that he is a star in the making and willing to learn. Hasenhuttl said: “It is good for young players to have situations like this, to go through it. This was the reason he came to us, to learn and to get better.”