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Joe Cole and Rio Ferdinand expect big things from Chelsea’s youth academy


Joe Cole on Chelsea’s youth academy

Joe Cole has a lot of positive things to say about his old club’s youth system after Chelsea’s performance against Juventus saw three of their  homegrown players score in a stunning 4-0 victory against Juventus.

In Cole’s mind, Cobham, Chelsea’s academy for young players, are not only instilling proper football skills, they are developing well-rounded players.

When discussing the mixture of talent, attitude and mentality that the current youth squad graduates have, Cole explained that it was true of all the players going through the system.

“That’s across the board at Chelsea. That’s non-negotiable. These guys from five, six, seven, whenever they come through the doors, it’s drilled into them. How to be a person as well as a footballer.

“I was blown away when I went into the academy. After the session was finished, every player would come and shake your hand. I remember speaking to one of the lads and he said, ‘That’s what we do. We teach them the right values, what it means’ and it does shine out across all of them.

“When I went into Cobham the other day and they’re all just very confident, assured young men, who are fantastic footballers.”

Rio Ferdinand’s take

Rio Ferdinand also had plenty of positive things to say about Chelsea’s youth system but believes it takes managers like Frank Lampard and Thomas Tuchel to make sure it works out.

“For years now, Chelsea have invested into their youth system but they didn’t have the managers who were as confident and willing to put the young players in as the manager they have now or Frank first.

“The odd one may have come in, never stayed in the team really consistently. Now, it’s bearing fruit. The investment, the time.”

Not only does Ferdinand see this as beneficial for the current Chelsea squad but he also believes it will help up and coming Chelsea prospects see a light at the end of the tunnel.

“What this does, back at Cobham, the players they’re recruiting are seeing a pathway.

“It’s not about, ‘It’s Chelsea, it’s too big a club, I can’t get a chance.’ The first three goalscorers in Champions League night, against Juventus, are graduates from Cobham.”

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