It’s the dawn of a new day and thus, the dawn of a new loan. The latest addition to Chelsea’s rapidly growing Loan Army is Development Squad goalkeeper Bradley Collins, who will join newly promoted side Forest Green Rovers in League Two.
NEWS: Rovers sign @ChelseaFC stopper. Goalkeeper Bradley Collins joins on a season-long loan.— Forest Green Rovers (@FGRFC_Official) July 7, 2017
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Collins has been part of the Chelsea youth set-up since 2010 and has been part of two FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League wins. He was an undisputed starter and one of the senior members of the Development Squad last season and will now take the next step in his development, like Mitchell Beeney and Jamal Blackman before him. If you’ve never heard of Forest Green Rovers before, don’t be surprised because this is the first time they’ve ever been promoted to the Football League. As the name suggests, they’re also apparently 100% vegan.
Collins expressed his excitement about his first foray into senior football and playing a brand of football in League Two that’s similar to Chelsea’s, encouraging playing the ball out of defence.
“I’m delighted to have this opportunity coming from Chelsea under 23s now to play men’s football.
“It’s something different because I’ve been there for eight years, so to come out and get on loan is out of my comfort zone.
“Everybody knows that going into men’s football is ten times louder and more physical - luckily here it’s the same way we play at Chelsea with the philosophy of bringing the ball out from the back.”
- Brad Collins; source: Forest Green Rovers
Rovers’ manager Mark Cooper seemed quite happy that Chelsea were entrusting them with one of their prospects.
“Bradley joining Forest Green Rovers shows just how far we’ve come. It’s fantastic that Chelsea trust us with their young player – especially one so highly rated by their team. He played their Checkatrade games last year, and saved four penalties against Oxford. We now have two great ’keepers and we’re all looking forward to seeing Bradley compete for games and play.”
- Mark Cooper; source: Forest Green Rovers
Chelsea loaned two keepers to League Two teams last season, namely Jamal Blackman and Mitchell Beeney. Beeney found playing time hard to come by despite the fact that he was under the care of former Chelsea academy coach Dermot Drummy at Crawley Town, and returned to Chelsea in January after his loan spell ran its course. Blackman, on the other hand, flourished at Wycome Wanderers and earned heaps of praise from his manager Gareth Ainsworth, who tipped him to play in the Premier League one day. As for Collins, he’ll face the task of usurping Rovers’ first-choice goalkeeper, Sam Russell for a starting place.
Sam Russell played every minute of last season for them and got a new one-year deal in the summer. Brad's challenge is to take his position.— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) July 7, 2017
Good luck to Collins!