LONDON — Jose Mourinho will give the kids a chance to shine during the final two games of the Premier League season.
[ RELATED: Three things we learned ]
Mourinho gave 19-year-old Ruben Loftus-Cheek his first start for Chelsea in their 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday and has promised to give more of Chelsea’s promising youngster the chance to strut their stuff between now and the end of the season.
[ RELATED: Rodgers slams Fabregas ]
Chelsea’s manager is eyeing their away game against West Bromwich Albion next weekend to give Loftus-Cheek and others a run out, but will go with more experienced players in the final game of the season, a home match against Sunderland where the Blues will be awarded the PL trophy they won last weekend.
“The last game I am going to play with the players with more minutes in the Premier League, the players that were the base of the team. But against West Bromwich, and especially because West Bromwich is safe and nobody is waiting for a result, I am going to play him [Loftus-Cheek] and Nathan Ake deserves to play and be champion. I think also Izzy Brown. He comes from West Bromwich so it will be special for the kid to play a bit at home. The boys deserve it, all of them, but I can’t give the special day to all of them.”
Chelsea’s youth team has won two-straight FA Youth Cups and a UEFA U-19 title over the past two seasons and along with the names Mourinho mentioned, others like Patrick Bamford and Lewis Baker have excelled out on loan this year in the second and third-tiers of English soccer.
John Terry, 34, is the last player to really come through Chelsea’s youth ranks and become a regular in the first-team. That was 17 years ago as others like Ryan Bertrand and Josh McEachran have threatened to break through but haven’t quite done it.
Asked about Loftus-Cheek’s performance on Sunday against Liverpool, Mourinho believes the midfielder has a bright future and hopes many others will follow in his footsteps.
“He [Loftus-Cheek] is going to be a Chelsea player, there is no doubt,” Mourinho said. “I have other kids that I also believe they can possibly do it. Good work at academy level, good cooperation with us when the players go into the zone where they are almost there but not yet there. Hopefully we have more in the future.”
As Chelsea continue to have a one in, one out transfer policy and the restrictions of Financial Fair Play hang over the club, plus they need to keep increasing the number of homegrown players, having a talented youth team who can contribute value minutes is becoming more of a necessity for the Blues. The latest crop of youngsters are clearly talented.
Let’s see if Mourinho gives them a chance to shine over the next few seasons.