The average age of the Chelsea starting lineup for Wednesday’s friendly against Wrexham was barely over 19, with nine of the eleven starters born in the 2000s. Even by preseason friendly standards, even against fourth division opposition, that’s exceedingly low — especially as many of those picked to start are vying for first-team spots for the season ahead.
The second oldest player on the pitch for us and leading us out as captain was Trevoh Chalobah, barely 24 himself, but of course someone who’s already a Chelsea veteran, having joined the club at age since the age of eight.
To wear the armband was both an honor for Trev, and also a call-to-action, a call-to-leadership.
“It was a very different feeling, something that I haven’t experienced before. I didn’t know until I came into the dressing room and saw the armband next to my name. To have the chance to captain my boyhood club, to lead the boys out in front of a big crowd, it was amazing.”
“[I’m] now one of the more senior players in this young squad. To have that responsibility is good, and it is important support the younger players and make them feel comfortable in the squad. I know what that feels like. I was once in their boots.”
With all the changes that have happened at the club, on and off the pitch, Chalobah remains as one of our strongest connection to the “culture” that we hope to regrow and cultivate this season. The need to reestablish that was one of the first things out of the mouth of new head coach Mauricio Pochettino, who’s also talked about looking for leaders to step up and help lead us into this new future.
Opportunity knocks for Trev?
“I think it’s important that I help set the standards. I know the club inside out and I hope for the younger players that I can be leader and someone they feel comfortable to talk to.”
“[...] There are certain levels we didn’t reach physically [last season] and that is something the new manager wants to change this year. So while [training] has been hard, it’s also been exciting work because we know it is going to benefit us in the season.
“In football, there is always a next time, there is always a next season. It’s all about the preparation and it is important that we work well now. I think it is an important season for us but also for the whole club. We all want to achieve our goals.”
-Trevoh Chalobah; source: Chelsea FC
Now entering his sixth full season as a senior professional, and his third at Chelsea proper, hopefully Chalobah can indeed make that step up (and we aren’t considering something silly like letting him go).