Chelsea may have won the FA Cup on Saturday but they face a gruelling campaign in Europe’s second tier next season.
The Blues finished fifth in the Premier League after a final day defeat to Newcastle, allowing Liverpool to claim that vital final Champions League spot.
While a Europa League campaign might be good for Chelsea’s air miles, we can’t see Roman Abramovich leaping up and down at the prospect of qualification.
The same can’t be said for Gareth Southgate.
If we were Southgate we’d be absolutely delighted at Chelsea stumbling to sixth place in the Premier League.
This has nothing to do with Southgate being a secret Spurs fan. He might be, but we can’t confirm it.
Nope, this is all to with one of football’s last untapped minerals- Chelsea’s English youngsters.
Chelsea’s Under-18s are responsible for providing two of Europe’s last three UEFA Youth League winners.
Domestically, Chelsea won six FA Youth Cups between 2010 and 2017, lifted the Under-18 Premier League in 2017 and were crowned Under-18 Premier League Cup champions this year.
Tammy Abraham, Kasey Palmer, Dominic Solanke, Charlie Colkett and Izzy Brown have all shone compared to their peers but now find themselves playing football else where, both temporarily and permanently.
Of the current squad only Andreas Christensen has come through the academy, although he spent eight years at Brondby, while Callum Hudson-Odoi has been used sparingly.
Which takes us back to the Europa League.
Antonio Conte, or whoever else is managing Chelsea next season, isn’t going to take his main men all over Europe in search of what, rightly or wrongly, is viewed as a secondary trophy.
Enter Hudson-Odoi, Trevo Chalobah, Dujon Sterling and the rest of Chelsea’s ludicrously talented academy.
This season Arsenal have used the Europa League to give Eddie Nketiah, Joe Willock, Reiss Nelson and Ainsley Maitland-Niles first-team minutes.
You’d hope Chelsea will do the same next season.
All of which is good news for Southgate.
The more English youngsters get chances at the top level the wider Southgate can throw his net in search of future England internationals.
World Cup win in 2022, anyone?
Dream Team World Cup has landed
The greatest show on Earth just got that bit more exciting.
That’s because the Dream Team World Cup game is coming ahead of this summer’s tournament.
Dream Team World Cup
- Completely free to enter
- £50m budget and 20 transfers throughout the tournament
- £175k total prizepot (for UK players only)
- PRE-REGISTER FOR DREAM TEAM WORLD CUP NOW
The game officially launches on June 1 – but you can pre-register for the game now.
If you’re an existing Dream Team customer the World Cup game now appears in the app or you can enter here, but if you’re not follow these simple steps:
- Download the Dream Team app
- Create an account
- Click on the World Cup banner below in the app and follow the pre-registration instructions
From Russia with a whole lot of love.