5 of the best homegrown players in Chelsea’s history
In recent years, Chelsea have been one of the most successful teams in youth competitions. They have won the FA Youth Cup in each of the last four seasons and also triumphed in the UEFA Youth League in both 2015 and 2016.
But their graduates have then struggled to establish themselves in the first team. We've seen very few making the odd appearance but no one has really been given a string of chances in the first team.
It wasn’t always that way. Chelsea were once known as a side who built their teams around players from their youth academy. They had a particularly productive period during the 1950s and 1960s, which formed the basis of one of the best sides they had prior to the arrival of Russian riches.
Here are 5 of the best homegrown players in Chelsea’s history. It must be noted that this primarily takes into account achievements in Chelsea colours and so other household names such as Jimmy Greaves and Ray Wilkins, who came up through the club’s ranks but enjoyed the majority of their success elsewhere, have not been included.
#5 Graeme Le Saux
Broadly speaking, there have been three successful eras in Chelsea’s history: the early-1960s to early 1970s; 2004 to the present day; and sandwiched between them, a run of cup-competition triumphs in the late nineties.
Academy graduate Graeme Le Saux joined Chelsea in 1987 after being spotted at a local tournament on his birth-island of Jersey by then-manager John Hollins (more of him later) and established himself in the first team in the early nineties before moving on to Blackburn Rovers in 1993.
He returned in 1997, making a further 172 league appearances and playing his part in three Cup-winning runs. Chelsea won the League Cup and the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1998 and then went on to win the FA Cup two years later in 2000.
A diminutive but technically adept full-back, Le Saux also made 36 appearances for England between 1994 and 2000 and played a part in the 1998 World Cup in France.