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P1) Chelsea's UEFA Youth League winners: No excuses for Mourinho with this crop

COMMENT: Just a week ago, Jose Mourinho made headlines when declaring his one problem was "I'm getting better at everything related to my job".

But Chelsea's victory in Monday's UEFA Youth League (UYL) final highlights the glaring hole in Mourinho's CV: a failure to 'develop his own'.

Think Sir Alex Ferguson, and there's the 'Beckham generation' at Manchester United. At Barcelona, Pep Guardiola's name will eternally be tied to La Masia and the emergence of Lionel Messi. Today's United incumbent, Louis van Gaal, kicked it all off at Ajax, winning the 1995 Champions League with virtually a homespun XI.

But there's nothing like that for Mourinho. The one local he's closest to, John Terry, was given his Blues break by Claudio Ranieri.

However, while the snipers will claim otherwise, he's tried. At Inter Milan, there wasn't just the fiery introduction of Mario Balotelli, but also the successful emergence of Davide Santon before injury took him down.

At Real Madrid, Mourinho gave Nacho his chance, handed Alex Fernandez, now of Deportivo La Coruna, a debut and convinced Bayer Leverkusen to sign Dani Carvajal, with his first team path blocked by Sergio Ramos and Pepe.

But none of these players are world-beaters. And without a Ryan Giggs or Edgar Davids attached to his name, it gives ammunition to critics (like Sir Bobby Charlton) to infer Mourinho is no more than a chequebook manager.

However, all this could change with the current Cobham crop.

Three of the team, Izzy Brown, Dominic Solanke and Ruben Loftus-Cheek are now training with the first team squad daily. Brown was on the bench for the win at QPR , before flying to Nyon to lead his U19 teammates to victory over Shakhtar Donetsk.

Both Solanke and Loftus-Cheek have made their Champions League debuts - and Mourinho has also spoken openly of involving Jeremie Boga in his first team plans next season.

Then there's little Charly Musonda. The Belgian No10 has just swapped agents, leaving Christophe Henrotay for Jorge Mendes's stable, which also includes Mourinho. Why would the Blues manager recommend Musonda to Mendes if he didn't believe he was something special?

When we discuss the make-up of youth teams, it's usually limited to one - at best two - potential gems capable of making it. But you can't do that with this Chelsea group.

They're still working out where Brown's best position is. Standing at 6ft and boasting great control, he's a genuine 'total footballer' and doesn't suffer in comparisons with Ruud Gullit. Solanke finished the UYL's leading goalscorer and alongside Brown won the U17 Euros with England last summer.

Loftus-Cheek made headlines almost two years ago when penning a deal at 17 worth over £900,000-a-year. Yet his development hasn't slowed, defying those who warn against the 'too much too soon' syndrome. John Obi Mikel is sure to be looking over his shoulder next season. Loftus-Cheek looks a natural for that holding role.

Andreas Christensen, the Dane reputedly on £20,000-a-week, remains highly regarded inside Cobham. The centre-half is another training daily with the first team squad.

Further back, at 16, Jay Dasilva is still a couple of years away from the seniors. But he's been described by Ian Wright as technically the best left-back - for any age - in the country. And Wrighty saw Ashley Cole come through at Arsenal!

As for Musonda, in Belgium, particularly at his former club Anderlecht, they rate the midfielder a bigger talent than Eden Hazard. Some claim! But there must be something to it when you consider how hard Mendes worked to get the 18 year-old onto his books.

The UYL apart, Chelsea are into their fourth consecutive FA Youth Cup final. In 2010, it was the first time they'd won the title in 49 years. It was a team that featured Josh McEachran, Fabio Borini, Gael Kakuta and Patrick van Aanholt - all of whom big things were expected. But Mourinho had long gone from Chelsea by then.

Now is his chance. With this group, many of whom have proved winners not only at club, but also international level, there really can't be any excuses.

It's time for Mourinho to finally fill that one gaping hole in his CV.


P2) Chelsea's UEFA Youth League winners ideal combination of recruiting and coaching

P3) Charly Musonda Jr: Monaco, Mourinho and an agents blow-up at Chelsea

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Chris Beattie
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Chris Beattie

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