Last season’s Academy Player of the Year, Conor Gallagher has wasted no time in taking the leap from youth football excellence to senior football excellence, and making an immediate impact at Charlton Athletic. Having started the last 10 league games (missing just 4 minutes in the process), and with 4 goals and 2 assists to his name in that time, the 19-year-old midfielder has been turning heads not only in South-East London but at the national team level as well, where he recently earned his first U21 England call-up.
That was one of the goals he set for himself, as he reveals in an interview with Chelsea official, but now he’s hoping to build on the good start not just on a personal level, but for his loan-team as well.
“I normally make short-term goals rather than long-term ones because I just find it more simple. At the start of the season, I wanted to be the best I could possibly be and try to keep Charlton in the Championship because we were one of the favourites to get relegated.
“Since then, I’ve realised that the team are better than what people were expecting and I’ve also scored a few goals myself, which is an incredible feeling. My target now is 10 goals and to maybe even push for the play-offs with Charlton - I know that’s a big statement but I believe the team is good enough to do it.”
If Gallagher can keep up his form, and continue learning from some of the older pros on the team, as well as manager Lee Bowyer, the Addicks just might surprise at the end of the season.
Beyond that of course, there’s always the question of the long-term future. But unlike past years, when such questions were met with uncertainty and dim possibilities at best, Chelsea’s youth revolution has opened doors and reignited true hope for all Academy youngsters.
“When you look at Tammy [Abraham], Mason [Mount], Fikayo [Tomori] and Reece [James], all four of them were on loan in the Championship last season. They all did really well, all managed to come back to Chelsea this summer and are now playing in the first team.
That’s the dream for all of us and it has been my dream for years. Seeing their progress gives everyone hope that Frank is giving youngsters a chance so it’s a great thing to see.”
-Conor Gallagher; source: Chelsea FC
If Gallagher keeps it up, he will undoubtedly be pushing for a first-team spot next summer.