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Mancienne exclusive: Chelsea kids can be backbone of new England golden generation

Michael Mancienne is hopeful his former club Chelsea can become the breeding ground of England's next golden generation.

After neglecting to utilise their abundance of youth talent for years, the 2019/20 campaign has been a watershed moment for Chelsea.

The club entered this season with new manager Frank Lampard under the restriction of a two-window transfer ban, after they were found guilty of breaching rules around the signing of minors.

Academy graduates Tammy Abraham, Fiyako Tomori, Reece James and Mason Mount featured heavily during the first-half of the season with great success. England boss Gareth Southgate also handed debuts to Abraham, Tomori and Mount, while James made his U21 debut.

When FIFA reduced the transfer ban and allowed Chelsea to make deals in January, the west London club were expected to return to its old ways of securing expensive transfers.

Instead, Lampard's only signing was Hakim Ziyech from Ajax - who won't arrive until the summer - and he has since doubled down on his commitment to youth.

The legendary Blues midfielder has handed debuts to Billy Gilmour, Ian Maatsen, Marc Guehi, Armando Broja, Tino Anjorin and Tariq Lamptey (now with Brighton), taking the total of academy debutantes for the season to eight. Hudson-Odoi, Mount, Abraham, Tomori and James have all now made over 20 total appearances this season.

Mancienne joined Chelsea as a nine-year-old and knows all too well about the struggles of breaking through the ranks at Cobham. After signing his first professional contract in 2006, Mancienne waited two-and-a-half seasons to make his first-team debut against Watford in 2009.

Asked by Tribalfootball.com if he hopes Chelsea's focus on youth persists beyond this season, the 32-year-old replied: "I hope so. I think it's massive for young players to get experience.

"Especially playing under Frank Lampard and around experienced players and playing in a massive team such as Chelsea.

'When I was at the academy it always seemed almost virtually impossible to break into the team, which it was.

"But now there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the young boys and I think it is massive, it gives them a lot of hope."

Mancienne left Chelsea for Hamburg in 2011 and watched first-hand how the Bundesliga helped build Germany's national team that won the 2014 World Cup.

And the New England Revolution veteran added that Chelsea can now become the next breeding ground for England, just as Manchester United was with their Class of '92.

"It'll be massive for England as a nation for young players coming through and getting that experience," he added.

"Just look at Germany what they've done over the years, pushing through their younger players and going on to win the World Cup with a young squad and that played together for a long-time. It's massive for the country.

"Manchester United have done it over the years and have been successful, and I think Chelsea can do the same."


Follow Andrew Maclean on Twitter: @andrewmaclean30

**Article was updated on April 27**

Andrew Maclean
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Andrew Maclean

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