Tags Posts tagged with "FA Youth Cup"

FA Youth Cup

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Former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo has backed academy striker Dominic Solanke to eventually become a first team regular at the club.

Solanke has been a key part of the Chelsea Youth set up this season, helping the club to win the UEFA Youth Cup and the FA Youth Cup.

He scored a hattrick for the Blues U21’s against Liverpool last season – taking his goal tally up to 41.

Solanke was handed his first-team debut by Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho in the 6-0 Champions League group win over Maribor last October, and speaking to Sky Sports, Flo insists the striker has the graft and skill to succeed:

“He takes things the right way. He doesn’t get big-headed, he keeps his feet on the ground and of course he’s very good going forward.

“He’s got a very good physique and I think he’s got great touch on the ball. He’s quick but often what impresses me the most is when he looks like he’s lost the ball, he somehow manages to get out with the ball, no matter how tight the situation is or how difficult it looks.

“But it’s vital he continues to keep his feet on the ground and work hard every day. There is still a long way to go for Dominic even though he has done really well for the youth team.

“I just wish him the best and hope he can someday become a regular player at Chelsea.”

Solanke is just one of a number of Chelsea youngsters emerging from the club’s academy, with Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Izzy Brown, Jeremie Boga and Andreas Christensen all being involved in the first team during the latter stages of the season.

Flo, who is currently working at Stamford Bridge as a coach after scoring 46 goals in 146 appearances in a three-year spell at the club, has also praised the Blues’ youth setup which has seen them win success both abroad and at home in recent seasons:

“The first team and all the academy teams have done so well,” Flo said.

“All those that have worked within Chelsea are quite proud of what’s been going on. I’ve been here for three years now and I have been so impressed with the set-up, the facilities and the way in which they work at Chelsea.

“I have already learnt a lot as a coach being around such good players and such good colleagues.”

The Norwegian was speaking at the launch of Chelsea’s Asian Star program, the first of its kind in the country. The scheme’s aim is to increase the proportion of Asian players in the game, with 300 youngsters taking part in drills at the club’s Cobham training facility.

“It’s great for the club to be involved in a project like this,” he added.

“Chelsea are involved in a lot of great things for children, including trying to develop grassroots football and most of all allowing children to enjoy themselves.

“I’m really proud to be working for Chelsea Football Club. They are doing a great job with grassroots football – especially with events like Asian Star – which is why it’s so great to be involved with this club.”

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Chelsea are Premier League champions, but according to Graeme Souness, they still have to improve to succeed.

Souness explained his reasons to Sky Sports.

“Didier Drogba found life tough when he got his games towards the end of the season.

“He found it a difficult league to play in at his age.

“So with him going I think they need to get another striker and I’m sure he’s going to address that.

“With Diego Costa, is his hamstring fully cleared up? He arrived with it and it seemed to be a problem for him throughout the season.

“When he was playing early on, he was doing a real job for them. But they will add.

“When you are at that level or perhaps any level, if you’re not adding to it then you’re standing still because your rivals will be strengthening.

“Manchester City will, Manchester United will and Arsenal certainly will. So Chelsea have to strengthen otherwise they’re standing still.”

Mourinho believes the Blues’ youngsters are a key priority. Indeed, he introduced Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Izzy Brown and Andreas Christensen into the fold in the latter stages of the season.

The Portuguese manager even claimed that they won Chelsea’s FA Youth Cup this season,  because some of the youngsters did make the transition into the first-team.

“I think genuine failure if you’re Chelsea is not winning the big trophies,” added Souness. “The failure of not introducing youngsters is a poor second. It’s way down the road.

“I think the priority for Jose, as it should be if you ask any supporter, is to win trophies. But it’ll be hard for him. Winning the Premier League back-to-back is not easy.”

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Last night the 18-year-old Blues player made his first Chelsea debut against his former club West Brom.

A mix of emotions for the youngster, since he was happy for his debut, but disappointed about the result.

He came on as a 79th minute substitute for Blues striker Loic Remy.

The midfielder twitted oh his page:
“Very happy to make my debut for the club I’ve supported growing up, special day for me and my family!”

The 18-year-old was a vital part of the club’s FA Youth Cup triumph this season.

As above-mentioned, West Brom is his former club.

At the end of the 2012/13 season, West Brom rejected an offer for Brown from Chelsea.

However, by the end of July the Blues confirmed they had signed him with a compensation fee between the two clubs set to be decided by a tribunal.

Brown is the second-youngest player in Premier League history at the age of 16 years and 117 days.

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Frank Arnesen, Chelsea’s former youth development chief, says Mourinho must show courage by promoting young Blues stars

According to Chelsea’s former youth development director, Frank Arnesen, Chelsea should promote some of the latest FA Youth Cup-winning side to their senior squad.

The Dane claims that there are three or four “special” players good enough to be part of Mourinho’s plans.

He insisted on saying that Tammy Abraham, Dominic Solanke and Charlie Colkett deserve the chance to get promoted.

At the inaugural Sporting Directors’ Summit at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium, Arnesen told Telegraph Sport: “The club have to have the courage to say, ‘Okay, he is not number one, but I want him as second [choice].
“Now, they are third or fourth, and that is the problem. You cannot play with four youth players, if you want to win anything, in the same game. But you can play with one.
“It was obvious that, in the last years, the best youth players in England, by a mile, came from Chelsea.
“But because of the philosophy of the first team, they never got a chance. And if you don’t get a chance then you can never say they weren’t good enough.
“Chelsea have chosen that and have not given the time or the places to the young kids to go in and be developed.”

Arnesen watched the final of the FA Youth Cup on Monday night winning over City.
He added: “It’s interesting to see this bunch of players, which is probably the most talented.
“They were there when I was there. They were only eight or nine years old, like Tammy, like Solanke, Colkett. That was a fantastic job from the scouting at that point.
“That was also my philosophy. I said, ‘Listen, the most important thing is players from the London area between six and 10 years old’.

“The way they’re playing football, the same way we started: 4-3-3, play, don’t be afraid, play possession games, get into the box, play with wingers if possible.”

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The squad celebrates the deserved trophy.

Last night performance is just a big step of a season that presents a team of youngster stars.

This FA Youth Cup final showed us the solidity and the confidence of this team, a great combination of physicality and technique. Indeed they still have so much to learn, starting from the approach of a such important match, conceding a goal after 6 minutes is not what you are expected to do to control a game. But we saw players acting like experienced champions able to command the pace and to being intimidating whenever they had a chance to attack. 

The captain and the brain
The captain and the brain

The team on the whole has a great cohesion – thanks to coach Edwards indeed – but there are some stunning individualities that cannot be ignored as well. I want to mention first someone who hasn’t got his deserved reward, like Jay Dasilva: the left-back who gave the impression to have some engine that gives him extra power to support the offensive transition and while always being always a great committed defender. Worthy of a mention is also the captain Charlie Colkett, the brain of the entire squad who is 17 years old but plays like a wise Lampard. 

Mourinho said he will give opportunities to some of those to be promoted and integrate with the first team once Chelsea have won the Premier League. Roman Abramovičh, who was in the audience last night, would be certainly happy to see some young champs grow and become valuable players to help the club having a shining future and eventually win some important trophies.

So let’s celebrate these promising stars now, waiting to see their chance in the first team in the next future.

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Roman Abramovich is pleased as the Chelsea youth squad produced a less ‘boring’ result than their senior counterparts to retain the cup.

The first half consisted of of an early goal from Man City’s Iheanacho, keeping the game competitive until Isaiah Brown headed home a corner.

Solanke assisted Abraham for his 39th Goal of the season in the first minute of second half, bringing the aggregate score to 5-2. The game then remained relatively calm for almost 10 minutes as Man City aimed to get back into it, before Clarke-Salter attempted to finish off the game with a header from a corner.

Solanke remained unselfish throughout the game, while Abraham showed hunger to the point where he was substituted for Ruben Sammut in the 66th minute, while Maunel Garcia came on for Man City’s Marcus Wood.

Having done what he could, Man City replaced goalscorer Kelechi Iheanacho with Issac Buckley in the 70th minute with hopes of closing the gap. Jeremy Boga then came off for Kasey Palmer in the 73rd minute, before Buckley’s goal attempt was disallowed due to a foul.

After taking a knock, Musonda came off for Mukhtar Ali in the 83rd minute, as the game calmed down towards the final whistle after one last notable chance from Chelsea youth.

With their 4th FA Youth Cup in 6 years, the Chelsea youth are heading for a bright future.

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The Chelsea youth entered the second leg with a 2-goal cushion, weary to not let it slip.

Both teams have showed a willingness to attack. Less than 6 minutes in, Iheanacho shorted the gap in his cup debut with a clean finish from a low cross on the right flank. The minutes following consisted of Chelsea aiming to restore the goal cushion, however were unable to get a shot off.

Their efforts eventually produced an equaliser in the 18th minute, where Isaiah Brown climbed higher than goalscorer Barker to head home a corner kick, before Iheanacho’s header was blocked by a a fine save from Collins a few minutes later.

Iheanacho refused to relent while his team remained behind, even to the point of conceding a foul. The half ended with a few chances either way, with a few sloppy moments from both keepers in the closing minutes.

Chelsea: Collins; Aina, Clarke-Salter, Tomori, Dasilva; Musonda, Colkett (c); Abraham, Boga, Brown; Solanke

Man City: Haug; Maffeo, Humphreys, Adarabioyo (c), Angelino; Bryan, Wood; Nemane, Celina, Barker; Iheanacho


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