Chelsea have spent a lot of money on a lot of players over the past year and change. A lot of those players are also a lot young, in their late teens or early twenties: the stars of the future rather than the here and now. There’s undoubtedly more of them than we could ever possibly use in the end, but that’s sort of the name of the game. We don’t need all of them to become stars, not even a lot of them, just enough to take us to the top (and then keep us there).
Among the very first to arrive in this new recruitment scheme was Carney Chukwuemeka, who made the switch from Aston Villa last summer somewhat surprisingly — going from a mid-table side to an (at the time) top-four challenging side isn’t exactly the most obvious pathway towards more first-team football for an 18-year-old, regardless of how talented they might be.
Despite all the turmoil and silliness that followed, Chukwuemeka did manage to make 15 appearances (though only 2 starts) for a total of about 500 senior minutes, a career high. Certainly not amazing totals, but something to build upon, which is exactly what the now 19-year-old is targeting after a successful preseason that saw him start four of our five games — in the No.10 spot of Pochettino’s 4-2-3-1 system.
“Definitely [a great pre-season]. The togetherness of the group has been top, and we are gelling together. It’s been a good pre-season, unbeaten, it’s all we can ask for going into the Premier League season.
“I’ve enjoyed my pre-season. During the summer I worked on seeing where I can affect the game. I’m 100 per cent sure goals are coming in the Premier League this season.
“For me personally, my aim is to break into the first-team. I have set myself targets for goals and assists and to help the team win games and trophies. But my target is to break into the first-team.”
“[Pochettino] said to me just to express myself, play with confidence and freedom. He’s put belief in me. He said to do what I can do and the rest will follow.’
-Carney Chukwuemeka; source: Chelsea FC
Free your mind, and the rest will follow.