Armando Broja became the latest Chelsea Academy rising star to make his first-team debut last night, the eighth this season in fact, a club record.
As for all the others, stepping onto a Premier League pitch for the first time was a dream come true for the 18-year-old, who has been with Chelsea since before age 9. It was also the well deserved culmination of 12 months of hard work and great on-pitch success for the Slough-born Albania youth international, who’s found the back of the net 18 times in 30 matches for the youth teams this season already.
What a twelve months for Armando Broja. A year ago today (8th March), he was a second-half substitute for #CFCU18 in a defeat at Arsenal, having scored two goals all season. Here he is making his Chelsea debut, and it's entirely deserved for so much hard work.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) March 8, 2020
Afterwards, he reflected on the brief yet memorable five minutes, after replacing Olivier Giroud, nearly twice his age, towards the end of Chelsea’s fantastic 4-0 win over Everton.
“It’s an amazing feeling. I’ve been here ever since I was a young kid and I’ve been dreaming about this moment all that time. To do it at Stamford Bridge was a great feeling as well.
“Before I came on I was a little bit nervous but I spoke to the gaffer and he told me to just enjoy myself. So I just enjoyed myself for the few minutes I played and it was an amazing feeling to be out there on that pitch.”
Despite the scoreline, Broja didn’t have to wait too long to feel the full “force” of the Premier League after receiving a “welcoming” tackle from the much-hyped yet rather terrible Everton center back Mason Holgate.
Young Armando wasn’t bothered however.
“The Premier League is like that, it’s probably the toughest league in the world. But I saw him coming so I just took a touch and he just hit me. It was good because I won the free-kick and got the team high up the pitch.”
-Armando Broja; source: Sky Sports
Broja better be prepared for (hopefully) much more of that in the future!