Chelsea's most successful skipper has revealed the best prospect that never made it: 'He was incredible'

This season has seen a whole host of young players arrive in the Chelsea first team upon Frank Lampard's arrival in the summer of 2019. 

All seven youth players that have made their first team debut have been in around the youth academy for numerous years, meaning former captain John Terry is aware of the array of talent Cobham has to offer. 

When many think of the most talented players to come through the illustrious youth set up, there are certain names that will ring around.

Lost under the radar

The likes of Mason MountCallum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek will sound familiar, but Terry has had his say on which former scholar was the most ‘talented’ he’s seen.  

Chelsea fans may not be aware of Rob Wollaston. Even the most diehard. Back in the 90’s under the guidance of Ruud Gullit, Wollaston was part of the academy set up. Terry is very familiar with Wollaston, as the pair was hoping to break into the first team in the same era, the late 90’s.  

If the five-time Premier League winner is claiming that Wollaston is the most talented prospect he’s seen at the Bridge, surely, we would’ve heard about him. Terry admitted that Wollaston struggled to ‘mentally bridge the gap’ between the academy and youth set up. 

The former captain released his thoughts on his Instagram live, when asked on players that were most talented that didn’t make it. "He was a midfielder and a winger, he had so much ability," he revealed. The admiration is still there from Terry, which is a true credit to Wollaston, who struggled mentally.  

Terry expanded on the topic of Wollaston, after saying: "I still know Rob now, you need to mentally push yourself in football and he didn’t do this." 

The current Aston Villa assistant manager confirmed: "He got to train with the first team at a really young age, he did really well and Gullit told him he was in the first team for an upcoming cup game."

Failed to take his chance

Youth players usually relish the chance to showboat their talent on the first team pitch. Being told you’re in the matchday squad for a game is arguably one of the best moments a youngster in football can feel. For Wollaston, the mental side took its toll. Sometimes you just aren’t mentally prepared to cope with the demands of professional football.  

"After being told he was in the squad and the news was digested, he phoned up on the day of the game and said he was sick," confirmed Terry.

"If any of us were sick on the day of an opportunity like that, we still would’ve played the game.

"He did this on more than one occasion, ability wise he was incredible, but he wasn’t mentally ready."

The insight from Terry shows the importance of mental health in football, having undoubted ability doesn’t necessarily mean you’re going to make it. Having the right mindset and motivation is the underlying linchpin to succeed in professional football.