Chelsea's youth system is currently producing some very talented players, including some that aren't as "hyped" as our successful loanees or youth players that are trying their hardest to break into the first-team. One of them is Ruben Sammut, an 18-year-old midfielder who has been with the Blues since 2004 and, despite being born in England, chose to pledge his allegiance to Scotland's national team instead:
"I've really enjoyed it coming away with Scotland. It's been a great experience for me, to come away on the international breaks from Chelsea and see how other countries play. From a tactical point of view it's good for my professional development."
"My grandma is from Fife. I've never been there but I have been up to visit her in Edinburgh a few times. There was never a choice for me. Scotland got in there first and my loyalties are with them."
Often times young athletes might pick up their sporting career ahead of their education, but that was not the case for Sammut who in one occasion chose to miss an entire UEFA Euros U17 tournament so he could go through his GCSE exams. And the subject he picked up wold have been useful had Chelsea brought "Zhangmos" from China:
"I missed the Euros last year in Malta when the boys got to the semi-finals. I wasn't 100 per cent sure whether I was going to be picked or not, but I had my GCSEs at the same time and my education has always been important. It was good to get that out of the way."
"I've got a couple of A levels still to do, but the exam period doesn't clash this time. I did Mandarin as a GCSE. I don't think any of the other boys in the dressing room speak it!"
"It was a random subject to take but my school was a language school. It fitted into my timetable and I enjoyed it, even though it's regarded as one of the most difficult languages to learn."
"Being able to write it and read it is challenging. I haven't been to China yet but hopefully I'll get the chance to put it go good use one day."
The Blues youth teams have been unbelievably successful in the last few years, managing to get plenty of domestic and even continental titles on their path. Sammut was involved with some of these glories, and he looks forward to winning more titles and developing himself into a first-team player for Chelsea:
"It's going really well at Chelsea. We won the Youth League and the Youth Cup last year. We've got the Youth Cup coming up and have started well in the Youth League this time around. We've qualified already with two games to spare in the group."
"In the future a loan move probably would be good to get the first team experience to hopefully come back and prove myself as a Chelsea first team player, which is definitely my main goal."
Some of the reasons which could be pointed to Chelsea's success at the youth levels is the mixture of talented players and talented coaches; even if we've been lacking in terms of integrating said talented youth into the first-team. It's also helpful that these young players are frequently in touch with the key members of our professional team, such as John Terry and even José Mourinho:
"A lot of the staff are former players, like Jody Morris and Eddie Newton, and the Under-21 coach, Adrian Viveash, is a great help too. They've played the game at a high level so that's good from a tactical point of view and a lifestyle one, in terms of telling us what we should be doing away from the pitch to give ourselves the best chance to do well. The detail they go into is really good."
"I've trained with John Terry. He always gives 100 per cent and is one of the best trainers I've ever seen. He's really good with the younger players and talks to you all the time. He's one of the nicest people I've met."
"When you work with the first team Jose Mourinho welcomes you, shakes your hand, talks to you and helps you through the sessions."
-Ruben Sammut; Source: The Herald Scotland
Perhaps one day Ruben Sammut -- and many other talent youth players at Cobham -- will be able to get this type of contact with their idols on the pitch instead of the training field. This is quite clearly their objective in the future, and we ought not to miss out on their talent.