Chelsea’s most promising FA Youth Cup winners XI: Where are they now?
Chelsea players celebrate with the trophy after winning the FA Youth Cup Fina, Second Leg match between Chelsea and Manchester City at Stamford Bridge on April 27, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)

Goalkeeper - Jamal Blackman

Manning the sticks for Chelsea’s triumph in 2012, Jamal Blackman is still owned by the west London club at the time of writing despite never making an appearance for the club's senior side.

The Croydon-born keeper has played for eight different teams on loan, in the eight years since his cohorts victory, with mixed results. While he experienced success at Wycombe Wanderers, winning their young player of the year award in 2017 after keeping 17 clean sheets and continued similarly impressive form at Sheffield United the following campaign, he has also languished as a back-up, warming the bench at Middlesbrough, Leeds and Dutch side Vitesse.

Now 27, Blackman has clocked up only 130 career appearances due to a mixture of both injuries and misfortune. However, the former England under-19 international is currently enjoying his time at Rotherham as the Miller's number one and with his Blues contract expiring in 2021, we're hopeful he can find a permanent home in the near future. 

Right-back - Ola Aina

The obvious choice at right-back sis first-teamer Reece James, who captained the Blues to victory in the 2018 final. But we just couldn't leave out Ola Aina, who played in three consecutive finals between 2013 and 2015.

After losing the first but going on to win the following two, the full-back, who had been at the club since the age of 10, became a part of a Chelsea side which consolidated their 2010's dominance. Aina also picked up two UEFA Youth League titles during this time at Cobham before he began to turn the head of then-manager Jose Mourinho, who awarded him his senior debut in a pre-season friendly against AFC Wimbledon in 2014.

Hopes of solidating a place in the first team did not go quite the Aina would have hoped, as not until Antonio Conte was appointed did the darting wing-back make his first competitive debut.

Left frustrated, Aina eventually opted for a loan move to Hull City in the Championship, where he impressed enough to get his first call-up for Nigeria and attract interest from Seria A outfit Torino. Aina quickly made a name for himself as one of the best young defenders in Italy which made La Granata make his move permanent for €10 million in 2019.

Two years on, the London-born defender finds himself back home, playing for neighbours Fulham on loan following new Torino boss Marco Giampaolo deeming Aina surplus to requirements. The Cottagers have not enjoyed the greatest of starts to life back in the Premier League following their relegation two seasons ago, but Aina's outrageous 30-yard curler in a 2-0 win over rivals West Bromwich Albion has sparked life into a misfiring Fulham front four. 

Centre-back - Nathan Ake

Signed from the Feyernood academy at 15 years of age, Nathan Ake arrived at Stamford Bridge as one of Europe's most exciting defensive prospects with Chelsea beating the likes of Manchester City to his signature.

The Dutchman hit the ground running upon arrival, helping the under-18 side lift the FA Youth Cup in 2012. This outstanding performances at youth level granted the 17-year-old Ake his top-flight debut against Norwich City and won the club's Young Player of the Year award the following May.

Though much to the disappointment of Blues supporters, his Chelsea career never took off and was dropped to the reserves by Mourinho- an experience he later said left him "mentally broken".

The young defender pulled himself together and rebuilt his confidence with a loan move to newly-promoted Watford in 2015, impressing coach Quique Sanchez-Flores at left-back. Leading the Hornets for tackles and interceptions with an outstanding 7.3 per 90, Ake did not seem fazed by playing out of his natural position in which caused captain Troy Deeney remarked him for his exceptional dedication and professionalism despite his youth age.

A year later, Ake moved on to Bournemouth and despite being briefly recalled by the Blues, he made a permanent switch to the south coast with the Cherries shelling out a club-record fee of £20.5 million in 2017. 

Fast forward to present day and you'll find that Man City finally have the man they were after back in 2011 following Bournemouths relegation last campaign. Frank Lampard was rumoured to be interested in activating the buy-back clause in Akes contract but decide against it to instead sign out of contract veteran Thiago Silva from PSG.

His £40 million move to Pep Guardiola's City makes it his fourth Premier League club at the age of just 25.

Centre-back - Jake Clarke- Salter 

Andreas Christensen and compatriot Fakayo Tomori may have gone on to make multiple appearances for Chelsea's first team since their promotion from their respective youth set-ups, but it was Jake Clarke-Salter who partnered them both at youth level and was once seen as the most likely to become the Blues next big thing.

Clarke- Salter played every minute in three consecutive FA Youth Cup victories and by the time he led the side out for the 2016 final, he had already made his first appearance for the senior side with then club captain and icon John Terry touting the teenager as his long-term heir, even going far as saying that his playstyle reminded him of himself.

While he's still on the Chelsea books with a contract running until 2022, the Englishman hasn't appeared in the Premier League in over four years having spent time on loan at Bristol City, Sunderland, Vitesse and now Birmingham City

Like many others on this list, injuries have limited his playing time in the midlands, just as they did at Bristol in the 2016-17 campaign, but despite numerous setbacks, his leadership qualities have remained apparent from when he captained his country at the under-21s in the 2019 Euros.

Still only 23-years-old, Clarke-Salter is still well placed to make it back to the top flight. 

Left-back - Jay Da Silva

Starting alongside Clarke- Salter in three consecutive finals, left-back Jay Da Silva opened the scoring in the 2014 showpiece against rivals Fulham just six days after his 16th birthday and became one of just seven players in history to win the competition three times - a feat which hadn't been matched since Manchester United's Busby Babes in the 1950s.

Despite his excellent displays for Chelsea at various youth levels, as well as captaining England to victory at the under 19's Euros, Da Silva, who had joined the Blues academy from hometown club Luton Town at 13, never made it to the first team.  

He was let go on loan to League 1 side Charlton Atheltic in 2018 before making a switch to Bristol City in the Championship the same season, which was then made permanent a year later - much to the annoyance of Chelsea fans (again), who had hoped he'd be recalled in the wake of Marcus Alonso's dreadful form. 

Since joining the Robins, Da Silva has been showing the Ashton Gate faithful the wealth of his tactical intelligence; a trait needed to excel at both left-back and left-wing back.

Managed by Dean Holden, Da Silva is a part of a dynamic, fast-paced, attacking side who have ambitions of reaching the first division in the coming seasons. 

Midfielder - Nathaniel Chaolbah 

Having captained Chelsea's 2012 FA Youth Cup glory, Nathaniel Chalobah wouldn't make his first-team debut until 2016, by which point he'd already gained a wealth of experience from a number of loan spells, including the likes of Watford in England's second-tier and the fringes of Maurizio Sarri's Napoli squad. 

Like Aina, Conte was the manager who finally gave him his chance at the Bridge but nine of his 10 prem appearances in the 2016-17 campaign came off the bench, leaving Chalobah with little game time. 

The Sierra Leone-born midfielder sealed a permanent switch back to Watford the following summer though his return to Vicarage Road could not of got off to a worst possible start when he fractured his kneecap in training. 

The freak injury kept him out for an entire season and was made even worse but the fact Gareth Southgate was preparing to give him his first call-up to the England setup at the time. 

But Chalabah was repaid when he got his first three lions cap in 2018 as a stoppage-time substitute but hasn't made the squad since. 

While at club level, Etienne Capoue and Abdoulaye Doucoure excellent partnership in the centre of the park meant minutes were hard to come by at Watford last season, but now back in the Championship and with the latter now at Everton, the 25-year- old is finally a regular starter for the Hertfordshire County club again. 

Midfielder - Lewis Baker 

In similar fashion to Da Silva, Lewis Baker was poached from Luton Town at a young age and captained Chelsea for the 2013 FA Youth Cup final, in which they lost to Norwich, however, he did play alongside Chaolbah in the victory a season prior so he still qualifies for this team. 

Despite making his first and last appearance for the senior side back in January 2014, Lewis remains a Chelsea player having signed a surprising five-year contract extension with the club in 2017.

His latest move within  the Blues infamous "loan army" has taken Baker to Trabzonspor and the midfielder has seemed to have found his groove, bagging two assists in the early weeks of the 2020-21 campaign.

But unlikely his current move to Turkey, he hasn't always found it easy to slot at other clubs following an excellent two-year spell at the Vitesse in 2015.

Baker struggled for game time at Middlesbrough, found it similarly difficult under Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds and with Fortuna Dusseldorf in the Bundesliga.

Once regarded as one of Europe's very best midfield prospects and compared to both Lampard and Santi Cazorla for his technical prowess and eye for goal, Baker's chances of getting back into the Chelsea set up at 25 now look incredibly slim with the amount of talent in front of him.

Midfielder - Mason Mount

Joining the Chelsea academy at just six years old, Mason Mount came through Cobham's ranks at the same time as Declan Rice, Rhian Brewster and Eddie Nketiah.

But unlike the other three, who have gone on to play for West Ham, Sheffield United and Arsenal in the Premier League respectively, the young midfielder stuck it out with the Blues and has since been rewarded.

A precocious teenage Mount featured regularly for the club's under-23 side when he was just 17. Around this time, he was advised by his father Tony, an experienced manager at a non-league level, to consider his future at the London club citing the fact no academy product had truly cemented their place at Stamford Bridge since Terry over 22 years ago. 

This haunting fact did not put off Mount, however, as he remained determined to make it work and when given the opportunity to prove himself on loan, he did so emphatically.

At 18, he contributed to 23 goals in 32 appearances for Vitesse and the following season became Lampard's star man, joining Derby County for their promotion push back in 2018. 

The trust built between coach and player that season proved handy for Mount when Lampard's returned to his boyhood club as manager in the summer of 2019.

Last season, no other player made more league appearances for the Blues than Mount as he continues his fine form his campaign, holding his own in an attack featuring some of Europe's very best forwards. 

Forward - Tammy Abraham

Between 2014 and 2016, Tammy Abraham scored 74 goals in 98 appearances for Chelsea's academy; a key contributor in a side which won back-to-back FA Youth Cups and UEFA youth league doubles. 

Tammy scored in consecutive domestic finals against Man City with the Blues beating impressive sides that featured Kelechi Iheanacho, Angelino, Raheem Diaz and Jaden Sancho

Asides from a disappointing spell in a poor Swansea side in the 2017-18 campaign, Abraham's output has hardly dropped since the age of 19, when he notched up 23 goals in the Championship for Bristol City, outscoring everyone by Aussie forward Chris Wood.

He went two better two seasons later, firing in 25 goals to help Aston Villa gain promotion back to the top-flight with only Teemu Pukki denying him the golden boot.

Like his good friend Mount, the young striker took his chance back at on his return to Chelsea scoring seven goals in his first four starts under Lampard and despite the wealth of attacking talent brought in this summer, Abraham is still staking his claim as the club's number nine with Timo Werner often pushed out to the left in order to accommodate the England international. 

Forward - Dominic Solanke

Regarded as one of Chelsea's most exciting prospects during the mid-2010s, Dominic Solanke bagged 12 goals in the 2014-15 UEFA youth league and ended the season with 41 goals in all competitions. 

The following season he was sent on loan to Vitesse before his 18th birthday, ending the campaign with seven goals and gaining valuable experience under the tutelage of Peter Bosz alongside other exciting young talents such as Milot Rashica and Marvelous Nakamba, as well as Blues academy teammates Baker and Izzy Brown.

However, with the youngster reluctant to go on loan again or sign a contract extension in 2016, Solanke spent a year in Chelsea's reserves before getting picked up on a free by Liverpool, a move which spelt excitement for both player and the fans of the Merseyside outfit, who were going from strength to strength under manager Jurgen Klopp

But it never worked out for him at Anfield with Mo Salah's phenomenal impact following his arrival the same summer and therefore solidified the Reds forward line to what it remains today.

Solanke made just five league starts before being sold for a hefty profit to Bournemouth, where he has also struggled to nail down a starting berth with Eddie Howe preferring Callum Wilson and Josh King ahead of him.

Yet, following the departure of Wilson in the summer after they were relegated, Solanke has become the main goal threat for the Cherries and at the time of writing, he has registered five goals and three assists in 14 championship appearances. 

Forward - Jeremie Boga

Before I get into this one, we must give a shout out to Callum Hudson-Odoi who at 20 years of age has already made 72 appearances for the Chelsea first team. Much like Aina in many respects, I  couldn't ignore Jeremie Boga, who by the same age had already applied his trade in three different countries.

The Marseille born forward was part of two FA Youth Cup-winning sides before he made its first-team debut in 2017 following promising loan spells at Renne and Granada.

Sadly, he was subbed just 18 minutes into the Premier League fixture against Burnley following a red card to captain Gary Cahill and he was swiftly sent on loan to Birmingham in the championship soon after.

Following that instance of bad luck, some good fortune did arrive in the form of Sassuolo who paid €3 million to take him to Seria A on a permanent basis.

Since his move to Italy, the Ivorian international he has excelled. In 2019-20, he scored 11 league goals off the left-wing, the same as big hitters Paulo Dybala and Arkadiusz Milik, and ranked fourth in the Sassuolo squad for minutes played and third for shots. 

This great form led Chelsea to consider exercising their buyback clause on the youngster last January, as well as a €30 million bid from Napoli in the summer, but neither came into fruition and Boga remains with the Nero Verdi - for now at least.

And there you have it, a culmination of some of Chelsea's best players to win the FA youth cup in recent years. 

Anyone we missed? Be sure to let us know at @Chelsea_VAVEL on Twitter.

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