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11 players you probably had no idea were Chelsea academy graduates

Chelsea are known for having one of the brightest academy setups in England as they have paved the way for several stars in the game today.

From John Terry to Mason Mount, Chelsea have produced some serious talents over the years. It’s also fair to say that they have let some of their younger stars slip through the cracks.

We’ve scrolled through the archives and picked out 11 players you won’t believe came through the Chelsea youth academy.

Eddie Nketiah

Now starring for Mikel Arteta’s Arsenal side, Nketiah actually started out his footballing journey with Chelsea. The striker joined their youth ranks in 2008 as a nine-year-old but was released by the club in 2015.

The Arsenal forward told the Beautiful Game Podcast: “It wasn’t really my choice to be fair. I was at Chelsea from Under-10s to 14s and I got released at the end of under-14s so, it was kind of my first big setback in football. It came as a bit of a surprise, to be honest.

“So, when you’re young, it’s all you know. Going to Chelsea, in school you’re known as the kid who goes to Chelsea. It’s part of your identity, it’s hard to let go. It was tough to take to be fair, especially as I was doing so well at the time.”

READ: The Premier League table since Arsenal hired Mikel Arteta in 2019

Rhian Brewster

Brewster made a name for himself at Liverpool, but he started his youth career with Chelsea back in 2008. Since securing a £23.5million move to Sheffield United things haven’t quite clicked for Brewster, but he still has time to prove his worth.

Brewster’s former youth coach told Goal: “What happened with Chelsea was Rhian got more frustrated around the developmental chances.  When Liverpool came in, I think there were loads of reasons he wanted to join. Not just around the club, the history, but his dad’s a lifelong fan.”

Declan Rice

Perhaps one of the more well-known Chelsea youth stars, we still can’t believe they let Rice slip through the cracks at Stamford Bridge. Having joined the club as a seven-year-old, he was released when he turned 14.

The Hammers midfielder told the Overlap: “[It was] something I didn’t expect at all, it was all I ever knew as a kid, it was my whole life, going there, training, the mates I met.

“I felt like that was it, I was gutted, I remember my dad coming home and telling me that was it. To this day, I still honestly don’t know the exact reason [why they let me go], I wish I did.”

It’s probably fair to say that Chelsea are now regretting their decision to let him leave, with the midfielder being valued at over £100million these days by his manager.

Jack Cork

Burnley midfielder Cork started his footballing journey with Chelsea and even captained their youth and reserve sides as a youngster. He was shipped out on loan eight times before finally leaving the club in 2011, having never made a first-team appearance.

The midfielder has gone on to have a solid career, playing in over 550 matches. He even won an England cap back in 2017.

Andy King

Leicester City legend King was first picked up by the Blues in 1998 when he was nine years old. Having spent several years with Chelsea he was released as a 15-year-old and soon snapped up by Leicester.

After turning professional in 2006, he went on to play for the Foxes for 13 seasons, racking up 379 appearances in the process. These days he is playing for Bristol City in the Championship.

Johann Berg Guomundsson

Iceland international Guomundsson spent a short stint with the Chelsea academy in 2006 before he was then picked up by fellow London club Fulham. He’s still scoring beauties to this day.

Fabio Borini

The Italian forward joined Chelsea’s youth ranks in 2007 after impressing at Bologna in Italy. Borini played a total of eight first-team matches for Chelsea, including four league appearances, before he then joined Liverpool in 2012.

After spending spells with the likes of Sunderland and AC Milan, the forward is now playing for Fatih Karagumruk in the Turkish Super Lig.

Jeremie Boga

Boga joined the Chelsea academy in 2009 and spent a total of nine years at the club. Throughout those nine years, he only made one first-team appearance.

He left the club on a permanent basis in 2018 to pursue a career in Italy with Sassuolo. After impressing with them the winger is now playing for Atalanta in Serie A.

Chris Mepham

Chelsea picked up Mepham as a 10-year-old and he spent a couple of years with the club until he was released and then picked up by Brentford.

Now playing for Bournemouth, the defender told the Bournemouth Echo: “They [Chelsea] gave me the platform to go on, all the training techniques and the understanding of the game that I needed to push on.

“It’s a period of my life I really enjoyed. I made some strong friendships there, Dominic Solanke being one of them who’s now here. I came through all the age groups with him, unfortunately I got let go at under-14s – he was good enough to kick on!”

John Swift

The former Chelsea academy graduate told Berkshire Live in 2016: “It’s obviously hard for any young players because it’s such a big team and there are so many big players there.

“And there is so much pressure on the club to be high in the league and do well in the Champions League. They have high expectations for every single game they go into. So it is difficult for the manager to put young players in.”

Swift only made one first-team appearance for Chelsea before he decided to pursue a career elsewhere with Reading. Now playing for West Brom, he’s still pulling off sexy passes like these on the regular.

Patrick van Aanholt

The Dutch defender spent a total of seven years at Stamford Bridge and was loaned out to five clubs in that time. He did make eight first-team appearances for the Blues, including two cameos in the Premier League.

After successful stints with Sunderland and Crystal Palace in the Premier League, the defender now plays for Galatasaray.


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