Where are they now? Former Chelsea academy graduates surveyed - Sports1
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Where are they now? Former Chelsea academy graduates surveyed

Where are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduationWhere are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduation

Cobham academy at the forefront for Chelsea

When you think about Premier League giants Chelsea, the usual line of attack focuses on Russian billionaire oil magnate and club owner Roman Abramovich, the vast sums of money the club have spent on transfers over the years, and one of the key catalysts for a shift in how English clubs operate in the market.

But very quietly, Chelsea has created one of Europe’s most-vaunted academy set-ups at Cobham which has a track record across the last seven years of producing a cadre of homegrown talents that have gone on to considerable success and them some both at home and abroad on the continent.

Since 2015, the west London outfit has helped shape the landscape both in the Premier League as well as the national team while looking set to continue in the same vein at the time of writing. But how have the graduates of the now-famous academy got on after they completed their education? 101 Great Goals surveys former Chelsea Academy Players of the Year as well as other notable products who have gone on to establish themselves at club and international level.

Mason Mount (Chelsea)

Where are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduationWhere are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduation

LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 05: Mason Mount of Chelsea looks on during the Premier League match between Chelsea and Leeds United at Stamford Bridge on December 05, 2020 in London, England. A limited number of fans are welcomed back to stadiums to watch elite football across England. This was following easing of restrictions on spectators in tiers one and two areas only. (Photo by Daniel Leal-Olivas – Pool/Getty Images)

First-team debut: 2019-20 (UEFA Super Cup)

Combined Chelsea appearances: 134

Goals: 24

International caps (England): 26

International goals: 4

Trophies won: UEFA Champions League (2020-21), UEFA Super Cup (2021)

The gold standard-bearer of the Cobham academy, fan-favorite and Chelsea cult hero Mason Mount has become a key figure at Stamford Bridge under Frank Lampard last season before he continued in that capacity once Thomas Tuchel came to London town.

His successful loan spells at Vitesse Arnhem and Derby County laid the framework for his progression in the Blues first team and he remains the ideal example of how the right education and timing of loan spells can provide an avenue for success in west London.

Reece James (Chelsea)

Where are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduationWhere are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduation

NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE, ENGLAND – OCTOBER 30: Reece James of Chelsea celebrates scoring his sides opening goal with team mates during the Premier League match between Newcastle United and Chelsea at St. James Park on October 30, 2021 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. (Photo by Ian MacNicol/Getty Images)

First-team debut: 2019-20 (Carabao Cup)

Combined Chelsea appearances: 107

Goals: 8

International caps (England): 10

International goals: 0

Trophies won: UEFA Champions League (2020-21), UEFA Super Cup (2021)

Another 2019 debutant, right-back Reece James has developed into arguably one of the top-tier players of his position in the whole of England alongside Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold and Manchester City’s João Cancelo.

Blessed with a perfect blend of strength and pace, James has always been a threat going forward (as seen this season by his 4-goals and 5-assists in 16-appearances in the Premier League) but continues to improve on the defensive side of the ball. Like Mount, James could well remain a one-club man across his career.

Tammy Abraham (AS Roma)

First-team debut: 2015-16 (Premier League)

Combined Chelsea appearances: 82

Goals: 30

International caps (England): 10

International goals: 3

Trophies won: UEFA Champions League (2020-21), UEFA Super Cup (2021)

Making his first-team debut before the age of nineteen, Tammy Abraham has been a fully-fledged professional footballer for seven years but despite his ability, was never given a true pathway to make a name for himself at Chelsea before completing a summer move to AS Roma this season.

Now at his fifth club, Abraham has scored wherever he has gone. His 15-goals in the Premier League for the Blues in 2019-20 saw him top the club’s goal charts while his returns at Aston Villa (25 in 37) and Bristol City (23 in 41) across two successful loan stints showed promise. How is he getting on at Roma? Handsomely, to the tune of 14-goals in 27-appearances across all competitions having already established himself as a key striker under José Mourinho at the Stadio Olimpico.

Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan)

First-team debut: 2015-16 (Premier League)

Combined Chelsea appearances: 27

Goals: 2

International caps (England): 2

International goals: 0

Trophies won: N/A

From the same youth crop as Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori had similar struggles when it came to finding minutes at Chelsea despite his performances elsewhere. Credible seasons at both Derby County (2018-19) and Hull City (2017-18) earned him credit in the bank at first during the 2019-20 campaign, but 2020-21 saw him make just one appearance in the Premier League before securing a January loan move to AC Milan.

Such was his performance at the San Siro that I Rossoneri purchased him outright this summer and immediately viewed him as a key center-back under boss Stefano Pioli, with Tomori making 22-appearances this season between Serie A and the Champions League.

Tino Livramento (Southampton)

First-team debut: N/A

Combined Chelsea appearances: N/A

Goals: N/A

International caps (England U21): 3

International goals: 0

Trophies won: N/A

The loss of Tino Livramento was sorely felt at Chelsea when the highly-touted England youth international left west London and headed to the south coast to link up with Ralph Hasenhüttl’s Southampton. His performances this season for Saints, which recently saw MARCA name him in their ‘most talented XI’ of young players set to explode in 2022, was proof-positive that the Blues lost a potential world-beater.

But the reality of his position at a club like Chelsea who is not afraid to spend, but also Reece James nailing down the right-back birth for the future unless he was to leave the club meant that first-team chances were bleak at best for the Croydon-native. But his Cobham education is certainly serving him well, with Livramento arguably being Saints’ best player this season before his injury.

Billy Gilmour (Chelsea; on loan @ Norwich)

First-team debut: 2019-20 (Premier League)

Combined Chelsea appearances: 22

Goals: 0

International caps (Scotland): 10

International goals: 0

Trophies won: UEFA Champions League (2020-21)

Though he only spent two years at Cobham after the lion’s share of his development taking place with Scottish giants Rangers, Billy Gilmour rose quickly through the Chelsea youth ranks between 2017 and 2019 before his first-team debut. Still just 20, the full Scottish international was never going to receive minutes at Stamford Bridge this season and was shipped out to Norwich in the summer.

Since his arrival at Carrow Road, Gilmour has received rave reviews, particularly under new boss Dean Smith after he lost his place in the team before former manager Daniel Farke failed to avoid the sack. His contributions in conjunction with Chelsea’s injury crisis all season may lead to his recall by Thomas Tuchel in what would be a huge chance for his budding career.

Conor Gallagher (Chelsea; on loan @ Crystal Palace)

Where are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduationWhere are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduation

LONDON, ENGLAND – SEPTEMBER 11: Conor Gallagher of Crystal Palace battles for possession with Sergio Reguilon of Tottenham Hotspur during the Premier League match between Crystal Palace and Tottenham Hotspur at Selhurst Park on September 11, 2021 in London, England. (Photo by Paul Harding/Getty Images)

First-team debut: N/A

Combined Chelsea appearances: N/A

Goals: N/A

International caps (England): 1

International goals: 0

Trophies won: UEFA Europa League (2018-19)

It is hard to imagine that Conor Gallagher has yet to make a single appearance for Chelsea despite how many loan stints he has excelled in by the age of twenty-one. Impressive spells with Charlton Athletic, Swansea City, and West Bromwich Albion were not enough to help the England international into the first-team picture which would see him move to Crystal Palace this summer.

There, under former Arsenal great Patrick Vieira, Gallagher has won praise time and again at Selhurst Park while scoring 6-goals and adding 3-assists for the Eagles in just 17-Premier League appearances. And that form may finally have opened the door at the Bridge for Gallagher, with Thomas Tuchel recently remarking that he may well return to Chelsea in the summer and fight for a place next term.

Armando Broja (Chelsea; on loan @ Southampton)

Where are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduationWhere are they now? Surveying Chelsea academy product’s post-Cobham graduation

Southampton’s English-born Albanian striker Armando Broja (L) scores his team’s opening goal during the English Premier League football match between Southampton and Leeds United at St Mary’s Stadium in Southampton, southern England on October 16, 2021. – RESTRICTED TO EDITORIAL USE. (Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images)

First-team debut: 2019-20 (Premier League)

Combined Chelsea appearances: 1

Goals: 0

International caps (Albania): 10

International goals: 3

Trophies won: N/A

With the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, and Kai Havertz in the Chelsea first-team under Thomas Tuchel, pathways for Armando Broja this season were minimal at best for the England-born Albanian international and a loan to Southampton quickly materialized this season.

His form for Vitesse Arnhem in 2020-21 (10 goals in the Eredivisie) showed promise and a need to keep the minutes flowing, and Saints boss Ralph Hasenhüttl has heaped praise on the 20-year-old, who could well have a future in west London given the angst around Lukaku as well as the abject failings of Timo Werner to settle to life in the Premier League.

Dominic Solanke (AFC Bournemouth)

First-team debut: 2014-15 (UEFA Champions League)

Combined Chelsea appearances: 1

Goals: 0

International caps (England): 1

International goals: 0

Trophies won: N/A

The inaugural winner of the Chelsea Academy Player of the Year award, it took quite a while for Dominic Solanke to truly make a name for himself in England, namely in the Championship rather than the Premier League. Solanke came with quite a bit of promise and expectations, but a move to Liverpool in 2017 after making just one appearance for Chelsea hardly panned out for him where he scored just one goal in 27-appearances.

Despite a move to AFC Bournemouth in 2018-19, Solanke would not find his true footing until the 2020-21 Championship campaign where he bagged 15-goals in 40-appearances. This season he has improved on that figure, currently sitting on 18-goals in 25-appearances while sitting behind only Aleksandar Mitrović (22) and Ben Brereton-Diaz (20) at the time of writing. And with the Cherries currently topping the table, Solanke could well get a return to the top flight of English football and the motivation to prove to his former clubs exactly what he is made of.

Tariq Lamptey (Brighton)

First-team debut: 2019-20 (Premier League)

Combined Chelsea appearances: 3

Goals: 0

International caps (England U21): 2

International goals: 0

Trophies won: N/A

One of the most talked-about right-backs in the Premier League since his emergence under Brighton boss Graham Potter at the Amex Community Stadium, Tariq Lamptey is another case study in a bright young player who craved first-team opportunities at a young age without wanting to wait for his chance at Chelsea.

Despite a serious hamstring injury suffered last season that he has only recently recovered from, the England U21 international is a key piece of the puzzle for the Seagulls when fully fit and remains constantly linked with a move to bigger Premier League clubs. His searing pace on the flank and credible technical ability shows hints of the same development seen by Reece James, and Lamptey likely will get his chance at a top-tier club at some point in the near future.


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Premier League table

# Team MP D P
1 Manchester City 21 40 53
2 Chelsea FC 21 29 43
3 Liverpool FC 20 34 42
4 Arsenal FC 20 8 35
5 West Ham United 20 10 34
6 Tottenham Hotspur 18 3 33
7 Manchester United 19 3 31
8 Wolverhampton Wanderers 19 0 28
9 Brighton & Hove Albion 19 0 27
10 Leicester City 18 -2 25
11 Crystal Palace 20 -1 23
12 Brentford FC 19 -3 23
13 Aston Villa 19 -5 22
14 Southampton FC 19 -9 21
15 Everton FC 18 -9 19
16 Leeds United 19 -16 19
17 Watford FC 18 -14 13
18 Burnley FC 17 -11 11
19 Newcastle United 19 -23 11
20 Norwich City 19 -34 10
Player Team Goals
Salah, Mohamed Liverpool FC 16
Jota, Diogo Liverpool FC 10
Vardy, Jamie Leicester City 9
Dennis, Emmanuel Watford FC 8
Antonio, Michail West Ham United 8
Ronaldo, Cristiano Manchester United 8
Son, Heung Min Tottenham Hotspur 8
Smith-Rowe, Emile Arsenal FC 8
Mane, Sadio Liverpool FC 8
Raphinha Leeds United 8
Mount, Mason Chelsea FC 7
Sterling, Raheem Manchester City 7
Maupay, Neal Brighton & Hove Albion 7
Silva, Bernardo Manchester City 7
Mahrez, Riyad Manchester City 6
Saka, Bukayo Arsenal FC 6
Gallagher, Conor Crystal Palace 6
Jorginho Chelsea FC 6
Wilson, Callum Newcastle United 6
Cornet, Maxwel Burnley FC 6

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