Chelsea youngsters named at 3rd and 14th place respectively
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ethan Ampadu were both yesterday named in Goal’s ‘NxGn’ (Next Generation) list of the world’s 50 best wonderkids.
Hudson-Odoi, who was this week called up to the senior England squad for the very first time, was placed 3rd in the overall list with Ampadu, placing just outside the top 10 in 14th.
Neither player was unable to get the title of being named the best teenager in the world, with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho taking the prestigious title this year – joining both Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan) and Justin Kluivert (Roma) who won the award in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
Despite this, the places given to Callum and Ethan are fantastic nonetheless. These placings shows how highly rated both of them are. Not just by the club themselves, but also by the fans and worldwide media.
(Little note from myself to add here too – It’s well-known that I’m still a supporter of Maurizio Sarri and an advocate of him needing patience and time for us to truly benefit from this transition we are currently going through. But with the England call-up of Hudson-Odoi, alongside with the passionate demand from the fans for Ampadu to get more minutes, Sarri HAS to be giving them both more chances from now on. A supporter of Sarri, with a balanced opinion… so much for this ‘cult’ I keep hearing of.)
Club Debut: 28th January 2018, vs Newcastle United (FA Cup Fourth Round)
International Debut: N/A
Total Appearances: 23
Goals/Assists: 5 goals, 4 assists
The jewel of the highly-rated Chelsea Academy. Many youngsters have come through over the last few years and whilst showing glimpses of what they were capable of, failed to live up to the hype that was placed upon them.
But then ‘CHO’ arrived on the scene. And he already looks at home.
Being on the books for the last twelve years, the Under-17 World Cup winner simply has everything in his locker to succeed at the highest level in the game.
With some of his fellow team-mates already believing he can become one of the best in the world, Hudson-Odoi definitely has what it takes to fulfil his potential of being a major player and the absolute future of Chelsea Football Club.
Let’s just hope his contract situation is resolved sooner rather than later, as I am very confident now in him staying past the end of the season (which is a stark contrast to how I felt in January with the constant Bayern Munich speculation surrounding him).
The heir to Eden Hazard’s throne? We shall see.
Position: Centre-Back/Defensive Midfielder
Club Debut: 20th September 2017, vs Nottingham Forest (EFL Cup Third Round)
International Debut: 10th November 2017, vs France (Friendly)
Total appearances: 12
Goals/Assists: 0 goals, 0 assists
Ethan Ampadu has so far seen little game time for Chelsea in the Premier League, but nobody at the club or in the fanbase are worried about the quality Ethan already has and will be capable of.
Comfortable playing at centre-back as well as in midfield, the Welsh international is seen already as an important part of the Blues squad and will (hopefully) become a focal point of the Chelsea starting line-up in the many years to come. So important in fact that a loan bid from Championship side Derby County in January was immediately rejected.
Someone that oozes composure and very much has an old head on a young body, Ethan’s ceiling is so high that he has already been earmarked as a future Chelsea captain. With being seen as a perfect combination of John Terry and Marcel Desailly, Ampadu quite possibly could become a world class player in the next generation.
To get a sense of what players joined Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu in the top 50, here are The ‘Top 10 Wonderkids in the World’:
1st – Jadon Sancho (ENG, Borussia Dortmund)
2nd – Vinícius Júnior (BRA, Real Madrid)
3rd – Callum Hudson-Odoi (ENG, Chelsea)
4th – Phil Foden (ENG, Manchester City)
5th – Rodrygo (BRA, Santos – joining Real Madrid in June 2019)
6th – Alphonso Davies (CAN, Bayern Munich)
7th – Sandro Tonali (ITA, Brescia)
8th – Diego Lainez (MEX, Real Betis)
9th – Moise Kean (ITA, Juventus)
10th – Morgan Gibbs-White (ENG, Wolverhampton Wanderers)
Other notable players in the overall Top 50 include:
11th – Ryan Sessegnon (ENG, Fulham)
14th – Ethan Ampadu (WAL, Chelsea)
15th – Eric García (SPA, Manchester City)
16th – Mason Greenwood (ENG, Manchester United)
17th – Timothy Weah (USA, Celtic – on loan from Paris Saint-Germain)
31st – Rhian Brewster (ENG, Liverpool)
32nd – Emile Smith-Rowe (ENG, RB Leipzig – on loan from Arsenal)
For the full list, click here.
Congratulations to both Callum and Ethan on making this prestigious list. This list is another indication of how talented Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu already are, and how high of a ceiling they have in terms of their potential in the years to come.
Without a shadow of a doubt, both of them are generational talents in the making.
Hopefully, we can be saying this (& seeing them on the very same list soon) for the likes of Reece James, Billy Gilmour, Daishawn Redan and many others.
With this in mind, we still need to be realistic with all that is mentioned and not put too much pressure on any of them. Let them develop naturally – and not force them in just because they’re young. That could damage them in the long-term, which is the last thing everyone wants.
One more thing on the Chelsea kids…
Many fans have worried in recent times that our highly-rated Chelsea Academy was being underused and/or used in a negative manner (phrases such as ‘Cash Cow’ have been used recently).
I completely understand the fans’ frustration in wanting our youngsters to succeed. I mean, we haven’t had a kid genuinely break through and become an integral part of the first-team squad and starting line-up since a certain ‘Captain, Leader, Legend’.
With the likes of Dominic Solanke, Nathaniel Chalobah and Declan Rice all starting their careers at the academy but not being able to cement a place in the first-team squad and thus moving on, fans had started to worry that the academy would never be able to produce a player that was good enough to do so.
But with Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu breaking through, Ruben Loftus-Cheek becoming a regular first-team starter and the likes of Mason Mount, James and Tammy Abraham coming back next season to become an expected part of the first-team squad… The academy finally seems to be coming to fruition. Hopefully the club sees the same thing as well and gives the current (& future) management teams the time and patience needed to give them the opportunities they deserve without any extra pressure put them and the team at the same time to succeed.
This is our future. A future that looks very bright.
Let’s hope it’s not thrown away.