Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo has taken a swipe at Tottenham’s youth system and launched a staunch defence of the Blues’ own set-up.
Emenalo says he cannot understand all the “hoopla” over Spurs and claims their North London rivals have only produced one player from the youth team to make it to first-team level – Harry Kane.
The Chelsea man also defended the Blues’ youth team, who will play in a sixth FA Youth Cup final in seven years against Manchester City on Friday night.
The Blues’ under-19s won the UEFA Youth League for a second successive season on Monday and they have won four FA Youth Cups since 2010, but the club still receive criticism that no academy player has had a sustained first-team impact since John Terry, who made his debut in October 1998.
“We try to remind them it’s not just a Chelsea problem,” said Emenalo.
“That’s what they hear. (But) with all the hoopla (around Tottenham), it’s the one player.
“The one key player is Kane, Delle Ali they bought from MK Dons, (Tom) Carroll is a peripheral player and (Eric) Dier they bought (from Sporting Lisbon).
“What we want them to do is to be patient because they (the parents) want it quicker than the boys want it or the boys are ready to take it.”
Emenalo believes the Chelsea ethos – from owner Roman Abramovich to the academy staff – will bear fruit in the near future.
“We love the idea of having players who love Chelsea Football Club,” he added.
“Everybody is talking about JT (Terry), and people need to understand the level of respect we have for JT and for (Frank) Lampard.
“Those guys showed what the club is all about and they showed the others who came and made the (Didier) Drogbas, the (Claude) Makeleles and (Michael) Ballacks fall in love with the club.
“With the investment we are making and where we think the game is going and the competition that we have, you can’t just buy your way out of trouble all the time,” he added.
“We can see what we have and we can compare them to what we see in other countries in Europe and other clubs in England and we think we have very, very good young players who should be able to come through.
“It’s a massive job to try to keep them patient and to keep them going until they get here, but I think from next season there will be signs.”
Bertrand Traore, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Kenedy have made an impact on the first team this season, while Todd Kane, who is out on loan, is set to compete for a first-team place next season.
Andreas Christensen, halfway through a two-year loan at Borussia Monchengladbach, and others, like Jake Clarke-Salter and Fikayo Tomori, are also expected to make the grade in future.
Emenalo added: “Christensen will be a superb player. I see on a regular basis that Clarke-Salter and Tomori are going to be outstanding players.
“They are young and I don’t know if they decide to get fat. There’s nothing I can do about that. If they continue the way that they are, they will make it because they have great talent, there’s no doubt about that.
“There is a co-ordinated effort from everybody to want to make this happen. Not just because it feels good, and it is nice to have a backbone the fans can relate to and support.”