Over the years, Chelsea have unearthed a long list of stars from their academy who have gone on to establish themselves in the first-team picture.
It is a testament to the excellent facilities at Cobham that enable the Blues to continuously streamline talent into the senior setup year after year.
It is also remarkable that current first-team stars Levi Colwill, Reece James and Conor Gallagher don’t scratch the surface of the obscene amount of quality that started crafting their legacy at Stamford Bridge.
Of course, the most famed world-beating talent known for beginning their careers in the underage groups at Chelsea are Jamal Musiala and Declan Rice; two players who would have perhaps helped the Premier League giants dominate for over a decade.
Those two are the biggest examples of ones that got away and while the Blues are prolific at unearthing more homegrown talent, they are also astute at poaching talent from lower league clubs in England – as has been the case with current academy sensation, Leo Castledine.
Leo Castledine’s statistics at youth level
Chelsea poached the promising playmaker from AFC Wimbledon in 2020 after scouring the football league for the next potential star in the making.
‘An attacking midfield player who has the ability to play box-to-box, he likes to create and score goals and is very tenacious in the tackle’, as described by Chelsea’s official website, Castledine’s exceptional all-round attributes have seen him make a rapid rise through the underage groups at Stamford Bridge.
During the 2022/23 campaign, the 18-year-old showcased his versatility by operating in a number of positions, including as a deep-lying player, an attack-minded midfielder and even as a centre-back.
It is therefore impressive that the youngster managed 11 goals and two assists in 27 appearances after making the jump to under-21 level last term.
Dubbed a “huge talent” by journalist Felix Johnston, the teenager has continued making huge strides towards a first-team call-up this term by posting sensational numbers in Premier League 2.
In eight appearances, Castledine has chalked up an impressive four goals and six assists, including a glut of goals in victories over Blackburn Rovers and Fulham, with Mauricio Pochettino rewarding that form with a place on the bench in their 2-0 victory over Rovers in the Carabao Cup.
The above statistics also illuminate his prominence even further knowing he’s currently supplying goals at a faster rate than first-team star Cole Palmer.
Cole Palmer’s statistics this season
The 21-year-old starlet, who arrived from Manchester City in the summer, has become instrumental to the Blues creativity in the final third this term, much like Castledine.
With three goals and two assists in the Premier League, which means he’s tied on five goal contributions with Nicolas Jackson, the Englishman has seamlessly slotted into various roles in Pochettino’s system, namely cutting in from the right or floating in behind the Senegalese hitman.
The Argentine emboldened the above statement by offering huge adulation towards the youngster, praising him for how he’s quickly adapted to life at Stamford Bridge.
He said: “He showed a great performance with character and personality,
“We are happy with the way he has arrived. He arrived on the last day of the transfer window but is playing like he’s been here ten years, showing his character and personality.”
Palmer’s close control and willingness to receive the ball in tight spaces have delighted the masses since he arrived at the club, with the youngster showing Pep Guardiola what he’s missing out on.
Indeed, the £75k per-week whiz has now remarkably played more Premier League minutes for Chelsea than he did for Man City and while that’s an impressive statistic on its own, the fact Castledine is outscoring such a talent is a testament to his boundless potential that Pochettino must unlock sooner rather than later.