Youth & Reserve Year in Review – Part Five: Internationals

In 2010-11, Chelsea had more players represent England than any other club in the world.

It’s a statistic which goes some way to countering the myth that the club imports the best talent from around the world at the expense of home-grown youngsters, particularly as many of them have been outstanding performers for the Three Lions.

At the top, John Terry regained the captaincy, whilst Stuart Pearce’s Under-21 team has regularly featured a quintet of Blues.

Michael Mancienne – who dons the armband at junior level, Ryan Bertrand, Daniel Sturridge and Jack Cork are on their way to the European Under-21 Championships in Denmark, whilst Josh McEachran has earned four caps this season but didn’t make the final cut.

He instead will turn out for the Under-19 team, who are embarking upon a challenge for continental glory themselves.

Aziz Deen-Conteh has also been a fleeting part of Noel Blake’s plans, whilst Billy Clifford has been on standby but criminally under-used by a manager who has yet to convince at all in his role.

Schoolboy Nathaniel Chalobah captained the England Under-17 team despite being the youngest player in the squad but their attempt to retain their European crown fell short as they were eliminated by eventual winners the Netherlands at the Semi Final stage.

He was part of their success a year earlier in Liechtenstein and will lead once again in the Under-17 World Cup in Mexico in just a few weeks.

At Under-16 level, England claimed another Victory Shield title before going on to win the Montaigu Tournament in France, with yet more Blues key to glory.

Defenders Fankaty Dabo and Jordan Houghton were regular faces throughout the season, whilst winger Reece Mitchell impressed later in the campaign.

John Swift saw his involvement curtailed by injury, as did the oft-selected Ruben Loftus-Cheek, but George Cole and Ali Gordon also represented the club in England white.

All seven appeared for Dermot Drummy’s Under-18 team late in the season and are to be congratulated on their development this season.

Looking further afield, there was a first senior call-up to the Turkey squad for Gokhan Tore at the end of the season after the winger had played for their B Team during the campaign.

Jeffrey Bruma made his full international bow for the Netherlands and marked Andriy Shevchenko out of the game as the Oranje took on the Ukraine, but he had to pull out of further squads injured and has only played Under-21 matches since.

Patrick van Aanholt has often joined him but a recent dispute with manager Cor Pot has potentially ended his Jong Orange career prematurely.

Gael Kakuta has missed out on French Under-21 duty but is a key part of their Under-20 plans for the FIFA Under-20 World Cup in August, scoring twice during a brief South American tour earlier in the season in preparation for the tournament in Colombia.

Fabio Borini scored twice for Italy’s Under-21 team, whilst Milan Lalkovic stepped up from Slovakia’s Under-19s to play at the same level.

Matej Delac may not have played much at club level but he has been a mainstay for Croatia’s Under-21 and Under-19 teams. Fellow stopper Rhys Taylor is now Wales’ first-choice Under-21 stopper and may have eyes on the full squad next season.

Jacopo Sala has been in and around Italy’s teams at both levels on and off but has yet to really make an impact at any level for them, and with the Azzurrini opting to use younger players for the next generation of Under-21 qualifiers, his time may have gone.

For Tomas Kalas, however, things continue to look promising, as a promotion to Under-19 level has seen a regular starting berth and impressive outings as the Czech Republic qualified for the European Finals next month.

Portuguese midfielders Kaby and Mesca both made Under-18 representations bookending the campaign, whilst young Swedish midfielders Amin Affane and Anjur Osmanovic featured for their Under-17 ranks during May.

Coming up tomorrow on TheChels…we look back on 2010-11 and come up with some of the best moments to finish up the review of the season.