Chelsea famously won seven of nine FA Youth Cups between 2009 and 2018, which led to widespread complaints their talented youngsters weren’t getting a chance.
That’s all changed in recent years, with Mason Mount the poster boy for the Blues academy. The midfielder made his final Chelsea Under-23s appearance in a 2-1 defeat to Derby County in May 2017.
After loan spells at Vitesse and Derby, Mount has become an established first-team regular at Stamford Bridge but what happened to his former Under-23 team-mates? We’ve taken a look at that Xl to see how they’ve all fared since.
GK: Bradley Collins
Collins, who joined Chelsea aged 12, won a host of trophies at youth level but that wasn’t enough to earn him a first-team appearance.
Despite impressing on loan at Forest Green Rovers and Burton Albion, the goalkeeper was released by the Blues at the end of 2018-19.
He then joined Barnsley on a free transfer and played against his former club in the League Cup in September 2020, conceding six goals at Stamford Bridge.
The 24-year-old could come up against Chelsea again in 2021-22 as have Barnsley qualified for the Championship play-offs.
RB: Dujon Sterling
Sterling made two senior appearances under Antonio Conte in 2017-18 before enjoying a productive loan spell at Coventry City in League One.
A torn hamstring and a serious illness halted the right-back’s progress in 2020, and he’s now back playing for Chelsea’s Under-23s.
— ITV Football (@itvfootball) April 26, 2017
CB: Trevoh Chalobah
The brother of Watford midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah, Trevoh is yet to make his Chelsea debut but has gained plenty of first-team experience out on loan.
After previous spells at Ipswich and Huddersfield in the Championship, he’s now getting his first taste of top-flight football with Ligue 1 side Lorient in 2020-21.
“A lot of people thought I would go to a promotion-chasing side in the Championship or a team in the Premier League,” Chalobah told the Guardian in March 2021.
“I just think there’s no rush to where I want to get to. From the first season at Ipswich, I wanted to play abroad. Now I’m playing against teams like PSG, Marseille, Lyon.”
CB: Richard Nartey (Joseph Colley, 63)
An FA Youth Cup winner in 2017, Nartey never broke into the first-team squad at Chelsea and was released at the end of 2019-20.
“I wasn’t sad at all,” Nartey told The Athletic. “Chelsea helped me to get where I am but I want to go out and be in the football world myself, to show I can start for a team as a member of a squad, not just as a loanee.
“Everyone who has grown up there; of course your dream is to play for Chelsea but the amount of top players they have — my thought process has been there for a while that I might have to leave.
“But, if ever there is a chance to come back after proving myself somewhere else, that would be my end goal.
The centre-back joined Burnley in November 2020 following a successful spell on trial with their Under-23s and has already made their matchday squad for a few Premier League games.
Colley rejected the offer of a new contract at Chelsea and joined Serie B side Chievo on a free transfer in 2019. He’s currently on loan at IK Sirius in Sweden.
LB: Cole Dasilva
One of three Dasilva brothers who joined Chelsea from Luton in 2012, Cole hasn’t yet been able to follow in the footsteps of older sibling Jay, who has made over 100 appearances in the Football League between Charlton and Bristol City.
The 22-year-old right-back made the switch to Brentford in 2018 but was released by the Bees a couple of years later. In February he joined Leicester City’s Under-23s.
CM: Ruben Sammut (Luke McCormick, 71)
Former Scotland Under-21 international Sammut made 12 appearances on loan at Falkirk in 2018-19 before signing for Sunderland, although he failed to make an appearance for the Black Cats and was released after a year. In 2020, he joined non-league hipsters’ favourites Dulwich Hamlet.
Not to be confused with his namesake at Plymouth, a 37-year-old Football League stalwart, Chelsea’s Luke McCormick remains a Blues player. In 2020-21, he made 42 appearances on loan at Joey Barton’s Bristol Rovers, who were relegated after finishing bottom of League One.
CM: Kyle Scott
Scott made just one first-team appearance for Chelsea, coming off the bench during a 4-0 win against Hull City in the FA Cup in 2018.
After being released in 2019, he reportedly turned down Barcelona to join Newcastle United but has been hampered by injury problems and is yet to appear in one of Steve Bruce’s matchday squads.
The midfielder looks set to leave the Magpies when his contract expires at the end of 2020-21, and he recently rejected a move to Major League Soccer side FC Cincinnati.
RW: Jacob Maddox
Signed from Bristol City in 2013, Maddox went on to win back-to-back FA Youth Cups as well as the UEFA Youth League at Chelsea.
Despite impressing at youth level, he never made a senior appearance for the Blues and had mixed loan spells at Cheltenham Town and Tranmere Rovers.
The 22-year-old completed a permanent move to Portuguese club Vitoria de Guimaraes in 2020 but has spent most of his debut season on the sidelines due to injury.
CAM: Josimar Quintero (Harvey St Clair, 71)
A former Barcelona academy player, Quintero joined Chelsea’s youth ranks in 2013 and was tipped for a bright future at Stamford Bridge.
The Ecuadorian failed to live up to the hype and returned to Spain with Segunda Division B side Espanyol B in 2019, having never made an appearance for the Blues.
After being released at the end of 2019-20, he moved to America with USL Championship Real Monarchs in December 2020.
St Clair turned down a new contract at Stamford Bridge and instead signed for Venezia in 2018, but he’s yet to establish himself as a regular for the Serie B side.
LW: Mason Mount
He’s done alright.
ST: Ike Ugbo
Ugbo has been sent out on loan to various clubs since 2017, including Barnsley, Milton Keynes Dons, Scunthorpe United and Roda JC.
He enjoyed his most productive spell at Belgian side Cercle Brugge in 2020-21, scoring 16 goals in 33 appearances in all competitions.
According to The Athletic, newly-promoted Watford have opened talks with Chelsea over signing the striker permanently in a £5million deal.