Is Chelsea’s Cobham academy the best in the world? Five of the best to graduate from the Blues

After Conor Gallagher’s breakout season and England debut, he is the latest in a long line of Chelsea academy graduates to appear on the big stage.

We’ve all heard of the famed Barcelona academy La Masia for bringing through world-renowned players such as Lionel Messi, Xavi, Andres Iniesta and more.

Despite not being so widely reported on, Chelsea’s Cobham academy has amazing credentials and has bought many top-class talents through.

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Although not on the level of La Masia, Cobham definitely could be mentioned in the same breath as the Spanish giants.

Chelsea fan Ciaran Fyfe had this to say on the academy: “Watching them play for Chelsea is like watching a fan play, and it’s hard to not love them.

“The breakthrough of talents have also enabled us to save millions on players who have been ready made fits for the first team, whilst those who no longer fit in have been sold to produce and hefty income.

“Just this summer we missed out on Jules Kounde, but were able to look to Trevoh Chalobah, who has been a stand out player this season for us, to fill the role.

“Meanwhile, the next batch of youth players are growing with Harvey Vale, Levi Colwill, Connor Gallagher, Armando Broja all having the potential to join Mount, James, Chalobah and Callum Hudson-Odoi in the future first team.

“I think it’s fair to say that 99% of football fans want to see academy graduates come up through the ranks into the first team, and I was no different.

“There was always a long stigma on how we chose to use the academy, mainly the use of the loan system set up by Michael Emenalo, something which has turned out to be revolutionary.

“The signs of a shift from financial profit to first team success really started to show in 2018, when Hudson-Odoi began to break through.

“Before this point John Terry and Christensen were the only two to have found consistent spots in the first team after making the jump from Cobham.”

Here’s their most famous and talented graduates...

John Terry

Born in Barking, Terry initially joined the West Ham academy before jumping ship to Chelsea in 1995 to embark on a wonderful journey.

Terry made his debut for the Blues in 1998, and after a brief loan to Nottingham Forest in 2000, went on to make 492 appearances for Chelsea, become their captain and lift the Premier League, FA Cup, Carling Cup, Europa League and Champions League.

He was part of the Premier League’s best defence, as he partnered Ricardo Carvalho en route to a Premier League trophy.

He is also the Premier League’s highest scoring defender.

Mason Mount scored one of two goals in England v Albania’s first match in March 2021

Mason Mount

For some reason, Mount divides opinion at Chelsea.

He played a starring role as Derby made the play-off final under Frank Lampard and then established his place at Chelsea as they qualified for the Champions League against all-odds.

Reece James of Chelsea celebrates with the Champions League Trophy with his Sister, Lauren James (Photo by Manu Fernandez - Pool/Getty Images)

Reece James

Only ever signing for Chelsea’s academy, Reece James has become a regular for Chelsea and is developing as one of the top full backs in the country.

A loan spell for Wigan in England’s second tier, James was voted their player of the season, and played a variety of different roles.

That loan spell saw him graduate to Chelsea’s first team and this season especially, has excelled and elevated his game, grabbing goals and assists. He’s represented England at every level from U18 and made his debut for the first team in 2020.

AS Roma’s British forward Tammy Abraham celebrates after Roma’s French midfielder Jordan Veretout (unseen) scored (Photo by Alberto PIZZOLI / AFP) (Photo by ALBERTO PIZZOLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Tammy Abraham

The only one on this list to leave Chelsea permanently, Abraham left west London to head for the glitz and glam of Rome, where he was signed by former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho for just over £30 million.

He signed for Chelsea when he was 7-years-old and his route into the first team was not as straightforward as the others.

He had loan spells at Bristol City, Swansea and Aston Villa and is perhaps fortunate Chelsea had a transfer ban that allowed him to slot in as their main striker.

The arrival of Timo Werner, and Kai Havertz excelling as a false-nine froze Abraham out, and in search of first team minutes, he had to depart his boyhood club.

Andreas Christensen

Spending just a year in the youth academy, Christensen graduated in 2013, and has also endured a long path to the first team.

Slightly older than anyone on the list, Christensen in 25.

He had a two-year loan spell in Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach, and his Chelsea career was seemingly coming to an end.

Fast forward to 2021 and Christensen lifted the Champions League and is vital component of Thomas Tuchel’s 3-4-3 formation

Honourable mentions:

Marc Guehi Crystal Palace

Nathan Ake Manchester City

Declan Rice West Ham

Tariq Lamptey Brighton

Tino Livramento Southampton

Armando Broja Southampton (on loan from Chelsea)

Trevor Chalobah Chelsea

Callum Hudson-Odoi Chelsea

Billy Gilmour Norwich (on loan from Chelsea)

Patrick Bamford Leeds

Jamal Musiala Bayern Munich

All these players play in the Premier League, bar Musiala, and all are from Cobham.

Until a couple of weeks ago, Chelsea youth players were responsible for 38% of all Premier League goals.