Last summer, in our attempts to defeat some of the youth-unfriendly narratives that were going around in the wake of The
Special Happy One's return, we talked a bit about Jose Mourinho and his 19+4 squad rule at Internazionale. While nothing quite as drastic came to pass with Chelsea last season, it looks like we're well on our way with this season's squad.
Lewis Baker is a full-time member of Jose Mourinho's first team squad for the season ahead.
The 19-year-old midfielder becomes the third young player to move up from the Academy's development squads in 2014, following on from Nathan Ake and Andreas Christensen.
-source: Chelsea FC
The academy trio joins 19-year-old Kurt Zouma -- from whom we already heard today on a semi-related topic -- to make up the "+4" to 20 others, including the three goalkeepers in the first-team squad. According to the Chelsea official website, Baker will wear number 34, which was last seen on the back of Ryan Bertrand.
Baker won't join up with the first-team until after the international break as he's currently away with the England U20 selection. And there's news on that front, too!
Lewis Baker has been named England U20s captain for Friday's fixture against Romania...
Baker often captained the Chelsea youth teams, so this is but a natural step forward for him. He had worn the arm band for the U20 national team before, but Friday's game against Romania will be the first time he gets to wear it from the start.
"It's a great achievement and it's something I'm very proud to do. When I lead my country out it will be an amazing feeling. Although I've worn the armband before, it was after the starting captain was substituted so it will be the first time I have ever done that with an England team."
"It will be an amazing feeling and something I am very excited about."
Despite all the good news lately, Baker knows that he has to continue to work hard and grab any opportunity that presents itself with both hands.
"It's down to me and how hard I work - the effort I put in, and my performances on the pitch. I have to make sure I grasp the opportunities as and when they are given to me."
"If I work hard I'm confident my opportunities will come. I just want to carry on playing my football, enjoying my football and doing what I know I can do."
These sort of sentiments are fairly standard by now from most of our young players; then again, that's probably no accident.