Over the past couple decades, we had become quite used to Chelsea being chock full of senior internationals, many of whom served as captains of their national teams, even, further underlining the high quantities (and qualities) of experience and leadership that were constantly present in our first-team, ensuring in great part our sustained successes over that period.
The composition of the squad has changed drastically over the past twelve months — as has our sustained success, though not necessarily in that order — getting much younger (and less successful, so far) in the process. As such, much of the squad are just about to begin their long and successful careers not just for us, but on the international stage as well.
Case in point, Levi Colwill (third on the team in total minutes) and Malo Gusto (starting right back) making their senior debuts last night for England (1-0 win over Australia in a friendly) and France (2-1 win over Netherlands in Euro 2024 qualifying), respectively.
Levi Colwill makes it 13 of the last 50 England debutants to have spent all or a significant portion of their development at Cobham. One in four. Unrivalled. https://t.co/jiXcB5BHwK— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) October 13, 2023
Colwill started at left back, with fellow Chelsea Academy product Fikayo Tomori getting a well deserved start at center back as well (just his fourth appearance for England, which is a shockingly low total). Completing the Cobham trio was Conor Gallagher, for his tenth appearance.
The stakes were a fair bit higher for Gusto, who came on for the final 10+ minutes of France’s qualifier against the Netherlands, and had to be on top of his defensive game to see out the 2-1 win, which ensured a place in the tournament for the World Cup runners-up. Ian Maatsen could’ve made his debut as well, but Ronald Koeman opted against bringing him on, denying us a Maatsen v Gusto battle.