Anyone who saw Josh McEachran start against Marseille at the Stade Velodrome will have developed a special fondness for the youngster. At 17 years old and starting in central midfield, McEachran put in a performance demonstrating that he had the ability to fit seamlessly into a midfield that also contained Frank Lampard and Michael Essien. Since then, it's been a matter of patching up the holes in his game and ensuring that he can be consistent enough to become a fixture in the first team, and his current loan at Middlesborough is intended to work on both.
And said loan is going very well. McEachran is a regular in Tony Mobrew's midfield, having started fourteen league matches already this season. His defensive work is improving (from admittedly basically zero, so it's not that hard), and his passing game has thoroughly endeared him to his manager and the supporters up in the northeast.
The Daily Mail sat down with the youngster, still 19, and did something that they should focus on more: A decent interview. You should read it! It goes over McEachran's childhood, his not-so-good loan at Swansea and his potential future at Chelsea (who turn out to have the ability to recall the midfielder in January, an option that probably shouldn't be taken up). Most interesting is his take on his ultimate position:
I don’t see Mata, Hazard or Oscar in my position. It would be good to play with those players, they are all on fire. I am a deeper midfielder, so that’s my favourite position, where Mikel, Lampard or Ramires play.
I’ve been there since I was seven and came through the youth system, so that is my dream club. That is who I want to play for, but this experience can only help me.
If McEachran really wants to play in the pivot, he's going to have to get a lot better at reading the play (although you could probably say this about Mikel and Ramires at this point) and working to break down opposition attacks. With his work ethic and dedication to the club, though, it wouldn't be a huge shock to see him as a long-term starter in Chelsea's midfield.
No word on whether or not he's actually an evil zombie, though. Lazy journalism, that.