Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel would love to bring more academy players into the first team squad after some of the youngsters helped the club progress in the FA Cup, he said on Friday.
Billy Gilmour, Reece James and Tammy Abraham combined for the latter’s goal against Barnsley while Callum Hudson-Odoi was also one of the brighter sparks in Thursday’s 1-0 victory that set up a quarter-final tie at home to Sheffield United.
Relying on academy players would be a departure for Chelsea, who have brought in proven senior talent year after year, but Tuchel said the youth teams were the ‘backbone’ of the club.
“The door is always open in my office for the coaches, officials from the academy,” the German told reporters ahead of Monday’s Premier League game at home to Newcastle United.
“I love to watch their training and in-house games on the other pitches, which is unfortunately not allowed at the moment because we’re in the bubble so it’s a bit more difficult than usual.
“My belief is (the academy) is the backbone of any club. The more guys you have arrive in the first team, the better it is for the club.”
Chelsea spent over 200 million pounds ($276.86 million) on new recruits prior to the season, with their biggest outlay on 21-year-old Kai Havertz who cost around 71 million.
The Germany midfielder has failed to live up to expectations so far but Tuchel said it was a matter of time before he began to deliver.
“What we know is there is all this potential in him and he can show it on the pitch,” the coach added.
“Some players need more time to adapt, sometimes it’s a process… I have a feeling that he’s a guy who is clear, self-aware, humble and very talented. There are no doubts he will show this.”
Tuchel confirmed that Andreas Christensen had been cleared of concussion in the win at Barnsley but fellow central defender Thiago Silva was ruled out of the game.