Xavi Simons of Chelsea celebrating his goal in the UEFA Youth League against Krasnodar, Kingsmeadow, October 2021

Six Chelsea academy stars who are set for a big breakthrough in 2022

Chelsea’s Cobham academy has produced a number of wonderful talents over the years, and even now Reece James and Mason Mount are shining in the first team as graduates.

It is often a tough route to the first team for Chelsea’s youngsters, who often have to impress out on loan before being given a chance in the senior side, but as James and Mount have proved, if you’re good enough, you will get an opportunity.

With the likes of Marc Guehi, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham moving on for large transfer fees, Cobham is integral to the success of Chelsea as a club, and there are some top-class talents coming through right now.

Here’s six of them who could potentially breakthrough in 2022, in the same way Trevor Chalobah did in 2021.

Xavier Simons

An 18-year-old midfielder, Simons is regarded as one of the top prospects in the academy (not to be confused with his name-sake at PSG).

The Dutch-born youngster made his first appearance for the senior side in Chelsea’s Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Brentford, after a covid and injury crisis within the club, and Simons played on the right wing.

Simons is more naturally a defensive midfielder, but his versatility has meant he has played on the wing, at fullback and even at centre-back for the academy sides, and is often the chosen captain within his age group.

With a wand of a right foot, Simons will be hoping for some more opportunities in the first team over the next year, possibly in the cups.

Harvey Vale

The 18-year-old midfielder has been capped at every level up to under-19 for England, and also started in Chelsea’s EFL Cup win over Brentford.

Vale has five goals and an assist in 11 Premier League 2 games this season, and was named on the bench for Chelsea’s Champions League win in Malmo in November 2021.

Harvey Vale celebrates scoring for Chelsea against Zenit St Petersburg in the UEFA Youth League. Cobham Training Ground, Stoke d'Abernon, Surrey. Tuesday September 14, 2021.

READ: Harvey Vale’s 55-yard lob: Ultimate proof he’s Chelsea’s latest ‘baller’

George McEachran

The younger brother of Josh McEachran, who was once the brightest prospect at Cobham and played 22 games for the club, the 21-year-old midfielder is older than some of his counterparts, but will be hoping for a chance in the Cups in 2022.

McEachran was named on the bench as Chelsea won the 2019 Europa League final in Baku, and was part of the England under-17 side that won the World Cup.

If McEachran is to have a shot of making it at Chelsea, his breakthrough would have to come in 2022.

Lewis Hall

The 17-year old left-back made his Chelsea debut in the FA Cup win over Chesterfield in January, and was given the man-of-the-match award for his stunning display.

A versatile player capable of playing across the defence and in midfield, Hall grabbed an assist for £100million man Romelu Lukaku on his professional debut, and with Ben Chilwell out until the end of the season, could be eyeing up more minutes this year.

READ: Seven incredible stats from Lewis Hall’s Chelsea debut vs Chesterfield

Jude Soonsup-Bell

Soonsup-Bell joined the Chelsea academy at Under-13 level from Swindon Town, and the striker made his debut in the Brentford game alongside Simons and Vale.

The 18-year-old is an England Under-19 international and also possesses Thai heritage, and once scored four goals in an FA Youth Cup tie against Barnsley.

The forward has 5 goals and 3 assists in 23 games this season, and will be aiming for more first-team opportunities whilst fellow young striker Armando Broja is out on loan.

Ian Maatsen

A Dutch left-back, the 19-year-old has impressed on loan at Coventry City in League One this season, with 22 appearances in all competitions.

The defender has been so impressive that Chelsea are rumoured to be considering terminating his loan, to bring him back as cover in the absence of Ben Chilwell through injury.

If this goes ahead, Maatsen will almost certainly have a chance to nail down a spot in the Chelsea first team, if he can handle the step up.

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