Lewis Hall claims he was so nervous ahead of Saturday night’s game against Chesterfield, his professional debut for Chelsea, that he was literally shaking.
Some 90 minutes of action later, we can confidently say that Hall is either a big fat liar, or he’s yet another ridiculously good, skillful (obviously), cool, calm, composed, highly promising young player to come out of Cobham.
The 17-year-old, born one year into the Roman Abramovich Era in 2004, is now the youngest player to ever start an FA Cup match for Chelsea, and the ninth youngest player to ever play for the club. (He certainly could’ve had us fooled had we not known those two little factoids from @ChelseaChadder and @chelseayouth.)
I make Lewis Hall becoming Chelsea's ninth-youngest player of all time when he steps out onto the pitch today. A remarkable rise for a player who has played in five different age groups for the club this season already. pic.twitter.com/4l5PmfIJIq— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) January 8, 2022
Afterwards, the Slough-born youngster who’s been at Chelsea since the under-8 level and has seen a meteoric rise this season, reflected on his achievement and impressive debut.
“Ever since I was a kid being at Chelsea this is what I worked towards. To finally get the opportunity and in front of my family and the amazing fans it is an incredible feeling. I came through the development system at six to eight and got my first contract at nine and have been progressing to this moment.
“We had a meeting during the day when he [Tuchel] announced the team and I was really nervous straight away. I saw my name on the team sheet and I was shaking. It took a few hours to process it.”
-Lewis Hall; source: BBC
Tuchel wasn’t shy of praise for the makeshift left-center back either. The naturally left-footed Hall has played mostly in midfield for the youth team, either central or left side, but has impressed in training and barely put a foot wrong during the game — on or off the ball.
“Did he say much in his interview? I haven’t heard him speak so much in training!
“But he deserved to play, he is a nice guy and very calm. A huge opportunity at Stamford Bridge. He took his chance and was hugely involved in some of the goals. Happy for him.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: BBC
Lewis “Speak softly and carry a big stick” Hall, remember the name.
Lewis Hall having a great debut…well done young man..and also fair play to Tuchel again embracing the young players in the Chels Academy— Jody Morris (@morriskid) January 8, 2022
It may have been only fifth-tier opposition, but hopefully just the first of many more in the years to follow.
“It was his performance in general and his attitude in training [that made me confident in him]. The quality he showed was very calm and very good in our possession games and the little games he trained in. We never really trained with the full squad so it was more small-sided games but he was good. He deserved to start [...]
“There is supportive attitude from all the more experienced players so this is very good for the young boys. In the end, they have to step up and show what they are capable of. They did again. They did against Brentford, the guys who played, and today they did their best to help us win this match.
“It’s good. There is no need to talk it down artificially but there is no need to get super overwhelmed because we played against a fifth division team and he is part of a strong squad. So put the things in relation to the demands and we can continue I think.”
-Thomas Tuchel; source: Football.London