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Pre-Season Friendlies Don't Matter: Josh McEachran Is Good Edition

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As more or less everyone who's ever read the site knows, I'm a fan of Josh McEachran. A big fan, in fact. So you'd think that having seen the 18-year-old play phenomenally well against the Thailand All-Stars on Sunday that I'd be absolutely thrilled about his prospects, right? Wrong.

What do you see in the above video? I see a midfielder with sublime vision, excellent touch, surprising ability to deal with pressure and with the defensive acumen to thrive in a double pivot. Some of these were questionable after his play last season, where he looked uncomfortable on the press and as though trying to defend might literally result in his death. In other words, it was an impressive display.

But, while it was cool to see, it tells us nothing at all. McEachran's strengths remain strengths; his question marks remain questions. Playing against what essentially amounted to a jury-rigged team of not-very-good, not-very-physical footballers is nothing like what Josh would face at the Premier League or Champions League level, and the fact that he could operate happily in the face of Sunday's opposition does not mean he's ready for the big time.

Nothing in the past four games should have changed your opinion about the players. If you thought Josh McEachran was ready to step into the starting eleven at the end of last year, go on and keep thinking that. It's an opinion. If you think he's not good enough to play and never will be, that's fine too. If you thought he'd be effective in a partnership with John Obi Mikel against top class opposition already... anyway, you get the drift. Chelsea are playing in friendlies against weak competition, with the aim of making money and increasing fitness. Win or lose, the games mean nothing - and we shouldn't be taking much more than that out of them.

In a few weeks time, everything about the pre-season will have been forgotten (except, perhaps, a certain wonder-goal by Yossi Benayoun). Let's not get too worked up over any of it - good or bad.