Chelsea’s Under 18s were given a glimpse of their potential future on Wednesday night after head coach Antonio Conte was first to congratulate them on their FA Youth Cup triumph.
The Italian was pictured in the Stamford Bridge executive boxes as Chelsea’s hottest prospects thrashed Manchester City 5-1 and 6-2 on aggregate to win the most coveted prize in English youth football.
After watching them lift the trophy, Conte came down to the familiar surroundings of the home dressing room to give a touching speech to the teenagers who had followed in the footsteps of previous winners Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Nathan Ake.
Footage of the speech was released by Chelsea’s official Twitter account and shows Conte praising their performance and encouraging them to continue in the same vain.
Antonio Conte was one of the first to congratulate our Under-18s after the game…👏 pic.twitter.com/StNu27gx1P
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) April 27, 2017
He is heard saying: ‘Congratulations. You played a very good game. I think you deserved the trophy. It is very important to win for us and is a great tradition for the club. I hope you continue this way. Well done, good job.’
Those in for particular praise would have been the five goalscorers on the night with Trevoh Chalobah, Ike Ugbo, Callum Hudson- Odoi, Dujon Sterling and Cole DaSilva all hitting the back of the net to secure an emphatic victory.
But they face a mountain to climb with regards to taking the step up to the senior side. After all, while Chelsea have a
formidable reputation for building youth teams, their ability to turn talented teenagers into first-team stars has been amongst the worst in England.
Indeed, John Terry remains their only real homegrown success in the Premier League era. Loftus-Cheek and Ake are currently part of Conte’s side, but both are struggling to convert their early promise into senior appearances.
Many of this current crop face a similar path to those who have won the trophy before them with the likes of Tammy Abraham and Izzy Brown thriving in the Championship with Bristol City and Huddersfield respectively.
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