Andreas Christensen, the Danish Prince, the Heir to JT, the Great Hope of the Chelsea youth and loan-system, turned 22 years old on Tuesday. With over 120 games under his belt in the Bundesliga and the Premier League combined already, he’s well on his way to a long, fruitful, successful career, and hopefully at Chelsea, even, which would truly make him a rarity.
In fact, if things continue to go according to plan, Christensen will become the first youth player to “make it” at the club since John Terry himself over 20 years ago. That’s a long time and something that has unsurprisingly been criticized many many times, but Christensen serves as shining beacon of hope and also a reminder that the vast majority of youth prospects in the Academy, while probably set for good careers in the football, will not be playing for Chelsea in the end. That’s part of the method, the search for the few diamonds in the rough.
Speaking in an exclusive for the club’s magazine, Christensen has recently reflected on that experience, which included the massive and potentially scary step of leaving his hometown at 15 to live and play and work in a foreign country. In retrospect, that certainly turned out to be a pretty good decision!
“I was thinking I had to leave my family and friends, but apart from that I was thinking I still just have to play football.
“I had an injury when I first came to Chelsea and I was here for two weeks and I tried to live in digs to see how it was. I just remember thinking it wasn’t bad and I could live like that. You got food served, they washed your clothes and stuff, so it was quite easy – it was fun.
“I was living with Jacob Maddox, Kevin Wright, Jesse Starkey and Miro Muheim – five boys, all in one house, and it was fun. We had the top floor of the house just to ourselves, with a TV room and sofas and stuff. We spent a lot of time up there, and I just remember thinking: “This could be good.”
Of his former roommates, only Maddox remains with Chelsea. Muheim recently returned to his native Switzerland, to St. Gallen; Starkey is at non-league Worthing now; while Kevin Wright is plying his trade on-loan in the Swedish second division from his parent club in the Norwegian second division. Youth development is never easy or straightforward or without unique trials and tribulations for the young kids involved.
So far, Christensen has managed to combined his own skills with good bits of luck to impress with the youth teams, then establish himself at Borussia Monchengladbach for two seasons, and now rising another level up to the Chelsea first-team.
“I’ve heard people from the outside say I went out on loan as a kid and I’ve come back as a first-team player, and I think that was the main objective.
“I’ve come back a little bit stronger in everything, both in terms of personality and the way I play. I think I’ve come back a little bit cleverer because I always think about what could happen next on the pitch, what could go wrong. I’ve come back a bit wiser and more experienced.”
-Andreas Christensen; Source: Chelsea FC
Christensen has recently hit a bit of a rough patch, but that’s expected for something still barely out of his teenage years. The sky remains the limit for him.