As we look towards Chelsea’s stewardship post-Roman Abramovich, there has been a lot of talk on stadium renovation and keeping professional teams competitive — both men and women’s. But we cannot overlook nor fail to demand from whoever takes Chelsea over a commitment to youth development, also at the men and women levels, not just as an extra source of revenue but also to reveal some of football’s best talents in recent times.
England’s friendly match against Switzerland was a good reminder of how Chelsea’s loan army, even if not as prominent as in years past, should still be a thing even under new limitations imposed by FIFA. Conor Gallagher, who has been a loanee at Crystal Palace this season, and Mason Mount — who started his professional career with loan spells at Vitesse and Derby County — both started against the Swiss national team.
Gallagher was himself a highlight. In his first game as a starter for the Three Lions, the 22-year-old impressed against a Switzerland team which showed they should not be underestimated coming into the World Cup. Not only did he have a great game in midfield, he also provided the assist to Manchester United’s Luke Shaw that started England’s comeback, with the home team winning 2-1.
In Germany, at the Rhein-Neckar-Arena, Die Mannschaft hosted Israel in a friendly match. The opposition to Chelsea attackers Kai Havertz and Timo Werner, both starters yesterday, did not put much resistance as the Germans dominated across the board.
Both Havertz and Werner also provided the two winning goals for Germany. The former’s effort was a textbook header from a corner at the near post.
Werner’s effort was also simple but effective, deflecting the ball into the back of the net from a free kick near the area.
Chelsea players were also in action in friendly matches with Croatia and Spain’s national teams. Midfielder Mateo Kovacic started in Croatia’s 1-1 draw against Slovenia at Education City Stadium, one of the venues for the upcoming World Cup in Qatar. Andrej Kramarić opened Croatia’s scoring in the first half, but the opposition were able to resist their forays for further goals until the very last minute when they found the equalizer via Jaka Bijol.
Meanwhile Spain beat Albania 2-1 at RCDE Stadium, in Cornellà, with goals from Ferran Torres and Dani Olmo for the hosts and Myrto Uzuni for the visitors. Marcos Alonso started as left-back for La Furia Roja, and Chelsea captain entered the pitch as a substitute to Dani Carvajal in the second half.