But the teenage prodigy saw a broken leg stunt his development at Stamford Bridge.
He still used his time wisely, though, by studying the performances of former Real Madrid midfielder Makelele.
He told the Scottish Sun: "Claude Makelele was the man I used to look at and try to model my game on.
"But also, because I can run quite well, I don't really want to pigeon-hole myself as just a sitting midfielder. However, in terms of reading the game, retaining possession, that's the guy I would look to for inspiration.
"I looked at David Batty as well, and he even chipped in with a good few goals. I'm not promising but I would like to do that at some point.
"He made a great career from doing the ugly things and doing them well, so that's someone I would look up to as well."