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Chelsea technical director defends club's loan policy: 'we are exactly sure of what we are doing'

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This one's not a new interview with Chelsea's Technical Director Michael Emenalo but rather a continuation (bonus topic?) of the one with the Telegraph's Sam Wallace from last week.  While most of what's come so far concerned itself with Mourinho's and Chelsea's prospects this season, the topic in this part is Chelsea's infamous loan policy, which has seen our Loan Army's ranks swell to at least 33 this season (young Romanian right back Cristian Manea is probably number 34; he's never been officially confirmed as a Chelsea signing).

Unsurprisingly, as one of the brains behind the policy and the entire operation, Emenalo defends the system.

"We are not going to be afraid of these criticisms of the players out on loan because we are exactly sure of what we are doing."

-Michael Emenalo; source: Telegraph

Emenalo highlights the biggest problem that we've seen over and over and over again as young players become too good for the U21 level, but haven't quite yet bridged the gap to Premier League levels.

"What do you do with Solanke? Do you leave him here to play another year of under-21s when he is clearly too good for it? Do you have him train with the first team and get minimal minutes? Do you send him to a Championship team and have him deal with balls in the air? With 35-year-olds much stronger than him in a system that does not suit the cerebral type of player we want here? Or do you send him to a place you know he will get minutes and will be educated the right way?"

-Michael Emenalo; source: Telegraph

Most importantly, no young player will be given a spot in the first-team purely out of charity or as a "Christmas gift".  They'll have to earn it.

...all arguments eventually go back to quality. If Loftus-Cheek makes the grade it will be because, in Emenalo's words, he has become a "world-class" player, not because the club have "handed the kids Christmas gifts". The bottom line is that this is one of the select professional groups in world sport and the most demanding examination of these young players' lives.

-source: Telegraph

Mourinho often gets criticized for a similar "inability" or "reluctance" to play the youth, but it would appear that manager and technical director are fairly well in sync when it comes to such issues.  Chelsea have spent millions on developing world class youth facilities and providing a world class football education, but the barrier to first-team entry remains as high as ever.  All it takes is one or two to change the narrative however.  Who will step up to the challenge?