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Emenalo: Restructuring of U18, U21 comps good for Chelsea

Chelsea football chief Michael Emenalo says the club is happy with the restructuring of the U18 and U21 competitions.

Changes to competition structure for the teams below first team level are considered crucial in allowing that to happen.

"We are very happy we now have a system for both academy and Under-21 teams that allows the young players to play a lot of games, because the only way you develop young players is for them to play," insists Emenalo to chelseafc.com.

"When I first came to Chelsea, the reserves had an 18-game schedule and that was not going to prepare a young player for the first team and to compete with someone like Frank Lampard who was playing 60 games, or Michael Essien who was playing 55.

"It wasn't right and it unfortunately affected some young players who were in the first team squad and weren't playing a lot. At the end of the season some had a combined total at all levels of 16 games or even less, so you lose a season and I feel convinced that if those players over a two-year period had played 35 games a season like Lewis Baker has just done, they would be much closer to the first team than they are now."

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