Rio Ferdinand salutes ‘phenomenal’ Chelsea FC star and praises club’s youth set-up

Rio Ferdinand praises Reece James and the way Chelsea FC have been developing their young talents in recent years

Rio Ferdinand
Manchester United legend Rio Ferdinand (Photo: BT Sport)

Rio Ferdinand has lauded the “phenomenal” Reece James and has claimed that Chelsea FC’s strong form this season is thanks largely to the success of their youth system.

The south west London side have made a brilliant start to the new campaign under Thomas Tuchel this term after having lifted the Champions League trophy and finishing fourth last season.

Tuchel’s men currently lead the way at the top of the Premier League table and they have also already booked their spot in the last 16 of the Champions League thanks to their 4-0 win over Juventus on Tuesday night.

Full-back James has been in excellent form for the south west London side this term, with the 21-year-old having scored five goals and made five assists in all competitions, and he netted the second goal in the sparkling display against Juve at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday night.

Also on the score-sheet were Chelsea FC academy graduates Trevoh Chalobah and Callum Hudson-Odoi, with Timo Werner tapping home a fourth goal late on for the Blues.

Ferdinand has been highly impressed by what he has seen from James this season and he feels that the south west London club are now being rewarded for the way they have set up their youth system.

“For years Chelsea have invested in youth but didn’t have the managers who are as confident as Frank [Lampard] and Thomas now,” Ferdinand said on BT Sport on Tuesday night.

“The odd one might have come in but never stayed around. Reece James has been phenomenal. What this does for Cobham is the Under 8s, Under 9s and later academy kids are seeing a pathway.

“The first three scorers tonight against Juventus, no mugs, are graduates from the Cobham conveyor belt.

“They’ve persevered and they have worked it out. They are in a positive mindset with it, their youth system looks so clear for them. They can see a pathway to the first team.”

Meanwhile, Chelsea FC defender Chalobah was named as the official man of the match for his performance against Juve, with the 22-year-old now starting to prove himself as an important member of Tuchel’s side.

Chalobah has now scored three goals in 12 appearances in all competitions for Tuchel’s men this term and he has started half of the club’s games in the Premier League this season.

“It’s my first-ever [individual] trophy and I’m delighted to get this, and I’m glad for the win as well,” said Chalobah after receiving his man of the match award.

“Our main focus was to get the win and to get the job done. We knew the problems they would cause us. We nullified them and the attack did its job.”

Asked about his goal, his first in the Champions League, he added: “I just had to put as much power as I could behind my shot and that’s what I did.

“It meant a lot. When I was a young kid I used to watch the Champions League. To now be involved and getting a goal is very emotional.”

Chalobah will be hoping to make his seventh Premier League start of the season when the Blues host Manchester United at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

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