The Chelsea academy will be put to the test as Tuchel leans on youth


he Chelsea academy is revered as one of the best in the world and now that belief is set to be put to the test.

The Blues have been hit hard by a Covid-19 outbreak and injuries to the extent that they named just four outfield players on the bench for last Sunday’s draw at Wolves.

It leaves Chelsea desperately short on numbers, even if Jorginho has been able to return to training after his Covid-19 test was deemed a false positive, and the club have been forced to turn to their academy for answers.

Even that, though, has caused complications as academy graduate Lewis Baker, who would have quite possibly started at Brentford, has tested positive for Covid-19.

Tuchel has had two training sessions to look at the young players available to him and it is likely the bench will be populated by plenty of them. Dutch centre-half Xavier Mbuyamba, who is 19, and versatile 18-year-old Harvey Vale have already been on the bench this season and could get the call once more.

There is plenty of potential for Tuchel to pick from, such as 17-year-old Charlie Webster – who was dubbed ‘the next Jadon Sancho’ after Borussia Dortmund tried to sign him before he signed a pro contract. Jude Soonsup-Bell is another teenager with a frightening goal record at youth level, who Chelsea also fought hard to tie down to pro terms earlier this year.

A cup tie under the lights at a packed stadium in Brentford would be a baptism of fire for those youngsters, but it would also show just how formidable Chelsea’s academy is.

The first-team is already being populated by academy graduates, such as Mason Mount and Reece James, and Wednesday could be the first glimpse we get of who could be about to follow in their footsteps.

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