Ahead of Chelsea’s game against Southampton, Jose Mourinho has explained his club’s poor record of bringing through youth team players on having less time at a big club.
Ryan Bertrand is the closest thing Chelsea have had to an academy product making the first team recently, who the West London club bought from Gillingham when he was a teenager. He has played just an hour of league football this season though. Before him, it was John Terry, who broke in to the first team squad in 1998.
“It’s a question of time and the smaller clubs, they have more time than the bigger teams,” said Mourinho. “It’s a different club [here] and a different job. I want to do it but it is just a question of time. Hopefully — and I am not saying a lot of them, especially at the same time as that is impossible to do — but step by step we have some kids with talent to come.”
Almost five years ago, Peter Kenyon expressed his frustration at Chelsea’s inability to bring through their own players but was sure that it would happen soon.
“I think we’re all producing more good players but it’s hard to get them to breakthrough at the level we need them and that will take time,” he said. “The infrastructure is certainly there at our club, it is as good as anyone’s and I’m sure the next John Terry will be coming through.”
The next John Terry hasn’t come through though and Mourinho believes that a lack of time is excuse enough to not put faith in youth. If the biggest club in the country hadn’t consistently invested in the youth team, giving time to numerous players in a bid for them to prove themselves able to play for the first team, Mourinho might have a valid point. As it is, there’s no reason why a club with seemingly unlimited resources can’t develop a player or two of their own.
Is his defeatist attitude when it comes to developing players one of the reasons why Mourinho wasn’t offered the United job?