Prior to Frank Lampard’s appointment as manager, Chelsea were often ridiculed for their reluctance to give young players first-team opportunities.
Chelsea’s winners of their Young Player of the Year award have had mixed success – in 2017 there wasn’t even a winner, in 2008 and 2010 they gave it to their Under-18 team collectively – but the more recent recipients are beginning to prove their worth in the senior squad.
We’ve taken a look back at the last 10 recipients of the award to see how they’ve fared since.
Mikel arrived at Chelsea in 2006 and won two Premier League titles, three FA Cups. the Champions League and the Europa League during his 11 years at Stamford Bridge.
The midfielder joined Turkish side Trabzonspor in 2019 but recently left the club by mutual consent as he didn’t feel comfortable playing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
He is currently in discussions with Brazilian club Botafogo with a view to joining them once the pandemic is over.
Mancienne joined Chelsea as a nine-year-old but found first-team opportunities hard to come by, making just six appearances.
After spells at Hamburg and Nottingham Forest, the 32-year-old signed for Major League Soccer side New England Revolution in 2018.
Chelsea had high hopes for McEachran, who made his Premier League and Champions League debuts at just 17.
But the midfielder failed to live up his potential and was deemed surplus to requirements by Jose Mourinho in 2015.
He spent four injury-hit years at Brentford before joining Birmingham City on a free transfer in 2019, only for more fitness issues to limit him to just 10 appearances this season.
Piazon arrived at Stamford Bridge in 2011 as one of the world’s most sought-after young players and played an integral role in their 2012 FA Youth Cup triumph.
He missed a penalty and got an assist on his one and only Premier League appearance during an 8-0 win over Aston Villa.
The Brazilian is still on Chelsea’s books despite not playing for the club since 2012 and is currently on loan at Portuguese side Rio Ave.
“My time at Chelsea is already over,” he told A Bola in September 2019. “I’m 25, I’ve been on loan several times. I’ve been at Chelsea since 2011, I’ve been on loan almost all over Europe.
“I’m tired of playing here and there, I need a place where I can feel at home. I want to know that in July I will return to the same place, to the same house.”
Ake only made 17 first-team appearances for Chelsea and decided to join Bournemouth on a permanent deal in search of regular football in 2017.
He has since developed into one of the best defenders in the league and has been linked with a move to a number of big clubs, including a return to Stamford Bridge.
Baker made his Chelsea first-team debut against Derby County in the FA Cup 2014, but the midfielder is yet to add to that tally.
He is now on his seventh loan spell away from Stamford Bridge and is currently playing for Bundesliga side Fortuna Düsseldorf.
They have an option to make the move permanent in the summer, but the 25-year-old has only made eight league appearances so far this season.
[Ed: he was absolutely crap at Leeds last season.]
Chelsea signed Zouma from Saint-Etienne for £12million in 2014, and he won the Premier League and League Cup in his debut season at Stamford Bridge.
However, a cruciate ligament halted his progress and the centre-back was sent out on loan to Stoke City and then Everton.
The France international is now back at Chelsea and has finally established himself as a first-team regular under Frank Lampard.
Let us remember, the few seconds Kurt Zouma became Cristiano Ronaldo. What a guy. pic.twitter.com/ynLPCE7YPR
— LDN (@LDNFootbalI) November 5, 2019
Loftus-Cheek is one of Chelsea’s most impressive academy products in recent years, scoring 12 goals in 72 appearances for the first team.
The England international has been on the sidelines since suffering an Achilles injury at the end of last season and is yet to play a game under Lampard.
“The hardest part for me is watching the games, seeing them play and win – or even lose – it is hard. I can’t wait to get back,” Loftus-Cheek told Chelsea’s official website in March 2020.
“The mental side of being injured is hard, but going through the tough times it hardens you and it made me a better player. I have to have the mindset of not regretting those things.”
After a promising loan spell at Borussia Monchengladbach, Christensen established himself as a mainstay of the Chelsea defence under Antonio Conte in 2017-18.
The centre-back fell out of favour under Maurizio Sarri and has been in and out of the side under Lampard in 2019-20.
Hudson-Odoi is another highly-rated prospect to come out of the Chelsea academy and the winger already has more than 50 senior games under his belt.
After suffering an Achilles injury in 2019, he is showing signs of getting back to his best after a mixed return to fitness.