Chelsea are famed as a home for talented prospects – and they are finally starting to make use of the young players they are developing thanks to the appointment of Frank Lampard as manager.
The likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori have all become key figures under Lampard in 2019-20, while there are plenty more highly-rated starlets yet to break through.
We’ve taken a look at the 14 players considered a wonderkid on Football Manager 2020, according to FMScout, to see how they’ve developed in real life this season.
Ampadu is one of the rising stars to come through the Chelsea academy but was sent out on loan for 2019-20 due to the competition he faced for a place in their starting XI.
But the 19-year-old has found life at RB Leipzig equally frustrating, playing just 79 minutes of Bundesliga football, albeit he did start in the club’s first-leg victory at Tottenham in the Champions League.
The biggest development for the Wales international has probably been cutting his hair.
Another player currently on loan away from Chelsea, Guehi is an Ivorian-born England youth international and was handed his senior Chelsea debut by Lampard in a League Cup tie with Grimsby at the start of 2019-20.
He also played the full 90 minutes in Chelsea’s defeat to Manchester United in the same competition before moving to Swansea City on loan in January.
The 19-year-old has made five Championship appearances to date but could be set for a prolonged stay in South Wales, with the club agreeing an option to extend his loan by a further 12 months.
Like Guehi, Maatsen also made his senior Chelsea debut in the win over Grimsby, but that remains his only appearance for the Blues as he has instead featured regularly in Premier League 2, which their Under-23 side currently top.
The defender was signed from PSV in 2018 and penned a new Chelsea deal running until 2024 on his 18th birthday in February.
Apr 2019: 'When I’m 17, I hope to make my debut for Chelsea in the first team. I realise you need to be realistic, but if the chance is there I hope to make my debut soon. I pray every day for it and believe in myself.' – Ian Maatsen
Sept 2019: 👏 pic.twitter.com/ZYFnDEkNPE
— Chelsea FC – #StayHomeSaveLives (@ChelseaFC) September 26, 2019
One of the biggest winners since Lampard replaced Maurizio Sarri, James has proven himself to be Chelsea’s future at right-back – or quite possibly midfield.
The 20-year-old had been tipped for big things after shining on loan at Wigan and has lived up to the billing since working his way into Chelsea’s first team, leading to some awkward questions being asked of captain Cesar Azpilicueta.
Still just 17, Livramento has played for both Chelsea Under-18s and Under-23s this season, featuring at both right-back and right wing.
In November, he signed his first professional contract with the club.
Having spent last season on loan in League One with Coventry City, Sterling made the step up to the Championship this season by joining Wigan Athletic.
The 20-year-old has struggled for minutes with the Latics, starting just seven league fixtures – none of which he tasted victory in – and often finding himself not even on the bench for the Championship strugglers.
Chalobah was one of the few bright sparks in Ipswich’s relegation from the Championship in 2019 and earned himself another second-tier switch with Huddersfield.
Despite manager Jan Siewert’s mid-season dismissal, the England Under-21 man has featured regularly for the Terriers, scoring once in 30 appearances in all competitions.
His 41 interceptions are the most of any player under the age of 21 in the Championship this season.
Chelsea’s Academy Player of the Year last season, Gallagher is yet to make his senior Blues debut but made a big impression on loan at Charlton in the first half of the season, scoring six times from midfield.
He was recalled in January only to return on loan to the Championship with Swansea City and continue his good form, providing five assists in 10 games.
“He’s been a massive loss, probably impossible to replace,” lamented Charlton boss Lee Bowyer in March. “If you think what he brought us in that first half of the season. He brought us energy, fight, determination and goals.”
After impressing in pre-season, Gilmour made a handful of appearances over the first half of the season before leaving Chelsea fans drooling with consecutive man of the match performances against Liverpool and Everton in the west Londoners’ last two outings prior to football’s postponement.
Securing Hudson-Odoi on a long-term deal after so much transfer speculation was an early coup for Lampard, who made clear that the winger was a big part of his plans at Stamford Bridge.
The 19-year-old entered the season still recovering from the serious Achilles injury he suffered towards the end of 2018-29 but marked his return with a bang, scoring on his comeback against Grimsby before registering an assist in each of his next four appearances.
He subsequently lost some rhythm in his displays but showed an upturn in form in 2020.
Hudson Odoi: “It has been a crazy year for me. I got the bad injury, plus a couple of other injuries and then the virus as well. Hopefully that is everything done now, no more injuries and nothing else. I want to just get back to playing football and doing what I love the most. pic.twitter.com/9QMcfOBXvh
— Chelsea News ®️ (@CFCNewsReport) April 5, 2020
Having been a regular at Borussia Dortmund for a number of season, it seems strange to think that Pulisic is still just 21 years old.
The winger was always going to struggle living up to the tag as Eden Hazard’s replacement while having to acclimatise to English football. Injures also mean he has not played since New Year’s Day.
But there have been enough glimpses of his talent to offer encouragement, not least an 11-game stretch in which he contributed six goals and three assists, including a perfect hat-trick in a 4-2 win at Burnley.
A man who many are forgetting going into next season is Christian Pulisic.
When he was able to put a run of games together he was brilliant – our most direct winger with 12 goal involvements in 18 starts. He’ll be a big part of our attack going forward. pic.twitter.com/cB2BHeCHHA
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) April 5, 2020
After a season learning his trade under Lampard at Derby County, Mount has made a seamless transition into his first campaign as a Premier League regular.
Six goals, four assists and his first caps and goal for England’s senior side. Easy.
Named after the great man Faustino Asprilla, Anjorin has been at Chelsea since Under-7 level, growing up idolising Frank Lampard.
The midfielder was handed his Chelsea debut against Grimsby and made his Premier League bow as a substitute against Everton.
Reports suggest the 18-year-old has become the latest hot prospect to commit his future to the club after agreeing a new deal which has yet to be formally announced.
While he awaits his first-team debut, Peart-Harris signed his first professional contract at Chelsea in September.
The 18-year-old started 2019-20 still recovering from injury but has scored seven goals in 14 appearances from central midfield at youth level since his return.