The youngster has been in fine form this season as he continues to dream of breaking into the first team at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea may be facing a tough task to hold on to gifted teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi amid strong interest from Bayern Munich, but the winger’s rise to prominence has once more highlighted the quality of the Blues’ youth academy.
Critics will say that John Terry was the last academy product to become an undisputed first-team player at Stamford Bridge, but plenty of excellent players have come through in recent years.
Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Ethan Ampadu have all featured this term, while graduates such as Nathan Ake and Bertrand Traore have been impressing at Bournemouth and Lyon, respectively.
And there’s still plenty of talent at the club that just can’t wait to make the jump up to the first team sooner rather than later.
Here, Goal takes a look at the latest goings-on at the Blues’ Academy – and picks out a few names to keep a close eye on in the coming weeks, months and years…
One of the outstanding candidates to emulate the likes of Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu to make it into the first team is Tino Anjorin, who joined the club’s development centre as an Under 7 and has been around for nearly a decade now.
He was just 16 years old when he scored at the Emirates Stadium in the 7-1 FA Youth Cup final win over Arsenal last season and was the youngest player in the group to lift the coveted trophy.
It came during a season when Anjorin was part of Jody Morris’ side winning an unprecedented quadruple at Under-18 level and his progression has continued ever since, with the midfielder now looking to be able to physically dominate opponents, too, as his growth adds to his technical skill.
Anjorin signed his first professional contract in November last year and the goalscoring midfielder will be looking to make the step up in the not too distant future. He is still just 17 years old, but conversations about a possible loan – or even a first-team introduction – are expected at the end of this campaign, with there potential for the youngster to follow in the footsteps of Hudson-Odoi.
His father Sheriff Anjorin has played a key role in Tino’s development and quickly realised there was something special about his son after seeing him play a game in the seaside town of Poole.
“When he was three-and-a-half, he went and joined in a training session with six-year-olds,” Anjorin senior told Goal.
“He was dribbling better and shooting with more power than those older than him, it was like he had been beamed back down to earth as a complete player overnight!
“After that he was always the standout player, people knew him before he even knew how to spell his name. He is a goalscoring midfielder in the Frank Lampard mould. Lampard was one of his idols, but so were Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane.
“He has a high level of technical ability, great finishing quality and a great passing range. We felt that the Chelsea environment was perfect for Tino. It has really stretched him. The training has always been harder than the matches, he’s highly competitive and he just wants to get on the pitch and beat his opponent.”
Anjorin remains in touch with his Nigerian heritage, which has been part of his upbringing. His grandma is from Lagos and lives in Lewisham, giving him that London connection. His other grandparents are ex-military, instilling tough values in a youngster battling in the cut-throat world of football.
Four goals in seven appearances for England’s Under 18s have seen Anjorin establish himself on the international stage. Those call-ups were hard-earned, with Anjorin getting 10 goals in 15 games from midfield across various youth levels from U18 to U23 at Chelsea.
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