One of my favorite homegrown Chelsea players in recent years was Sam Hutchinson, the young defender who, in his extremely brief senior Blues career, was responsible for providing the perfect assist for this memorable Lampard goal. He retired last year, but has been consistently making appearances for the reserve team this season, prompting me to wonder whether he's back en route in his football career.
Hutch has been a Chelsea boy since he was nine, making his way through the youth system and even captaining the England U19s in 2007. Mourinho tipped him as a future first-team player and Ancelotti included him in the squad on the tour of the States in 2009. His later career was unfortunately marred by persistent knee injuries, which led to him announcing his retirement from football in August 2010. He remained an active part of the football club, though, working at the academy and mentoring some of the youth team while also acting as a commentator and analyst for Chelsea TV.
It was a surprise to me, then, when I noticed his name appearing on the reserves' squad sheets this summer. Hutch's first match back was in a July loss to Crawley Town.
He participated in a match against Bolton at the end of August when the Chelsea website finally explained his reappearance in the squad:
Sam Hutchinson returned to Chelsea's second string in defence. The defender had announced his retirement last season but has been training a few days a week in preparation for his coaching badges and has been involved in some practice games to gauge how much physical loading he can take before actually playing at any level going forward.
Could Hutch possibly make a comeback of some kind? He's Chelsea through and through and a great representative for the club. Even if he won't be able to make a push towards first team football, it's been great seeing him involved on the pitch again.
As a bonus, check out his assist for the Chelsea goal against Blackburn reserves last week, about :44 seconds in. The guy sure can pick out a pass: