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PICTURES: Chelsea Academy players join training ahead of Barnsley FA Cup match

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All fun and games

Cup games, especially in the earlier rounds, usually offer a chance to rotate the squad, give fringe players some minutes, and promote youth players, though with the various COVID restrictions and bubbles in place — not to mention Chelsea’s bloated first-team — that’s been less prevalent this season, certainly when compared with last season.

We were not really expecting that paradigm to change, especially after not even Frank Lampard held much of an Academy Day in the previous FA Cup match, but Wednesday’s training featured a fair few fresh faces. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean that any of them will actually be involved on Thursday against Barnsley, but it’s still a good sign that the Youth Revolution (TM) will not be left completely behind just because we’ve now gone back to the managerial rotating door.

Joining the likes of Billy Gilmour and Tino Anjorin — and for the sake of this narrative, the likes of Mount, Abraham, James, Hudson-Odoi are considered old hands — were new up-and-comers Lewis Bate, Valentino Livramento, and Levi Colwill. Only Bate can be seen in the pictures that were released, but the other two have beem circulating on Twitter as well. Bate has come close to making his debut a couple times before, but neither Livramento, a full back, nor Colwill, a center back, have made it into a senior matchday squad yet.