Todd Kane has defended Chelsea’s loan policy and insists he has not given up on breaking through at Stamford Bridge.
Four years ago Kane, then aged 18, travelled with Chelsea’s squad for the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, but is still waiting to make his first-team debut.
The Blues have come under criticism for their reluctance to blood youngsters, instead opting to farm them out on loan to clubs across the globe.
Full-back Kane is one of 31 Chelsea players currently out on loan, spending the season at Dutch outfit NEC Nijmegen, where he has made 27 league appearances.
“I’ve been out on loan for four years and I think I’ve learnt a lot more from playing men’s football than in the under-21s league,” Kane told the Daily Mirror.
“I’m near enough on the 100 mark of senior appearances. It’s been very good for me and you have to be realistic and know that only one or two will get opportunities at a big club like Chelsea.
“It’s the same at somewhere like Manchester United. Let’s be honest, Marcus Rashford got his chance at United because, to a degree, it’s fallen into place. He’s a great player but you have to get a bit of luck.
“I’ve learnt so much from being at Chelsea. From working and training with top quality players, I still speak to people from the club all the time, get advice from players, the Chelsea set-up is fantastic and I’ve definitely got no regrets.”
Despite the club’s success at youth level – Chelsea have won four of the last six FA Youth Cups – John Terry remains the last academy player to have established himself at Stamford Bridge.
But Kane, who has also spent loan spells at Preston, Bristol City, Blackburn (twice) and Nottingham Forest, believes Jose Mourinho has been the only Blues manager who took little interest in the club’s young players.
“I went away on a pre-season with Jose and that was a great experience. But I felt he had his own ideas and my chances were very limited. That was dispiriting,” he added.
“I’ve been at the club since I was about seven or eight, and if I’d been given my opportunity and not taken it, then I’d hold up my hands and say, ‘OK, I’ll go somewhere else.’ But I’ve had some great loan spells.
“I was at Forest. Had a great run under [then-manager] Stuart Pearce, really making progress, and then he lost his job. Dougie Freedman came in and didn’t fancy me. That’s how it works sometimes.”
The 22-year-old still has two years left on his contract at the Londoners, and hopes to be given a chance to impress whoever takes over as manager in the summer, most likely Antonio Conte.
“I’m really enjoying it in Holland. I had a look round the place and loved it straight away. It’s just what I needed. I’m living in the middle of nowhere, just focused on football — training and working hard. It’s a great test,” he said.
“But I’m hoping I will get a chance under the new manager at Chelsea this summer.
“Chelsea are good for the players out on loan. The technical director, Michael Emenalo, is a clever man, stays in regular contact and gives you a lot of encouragement.
“Cesar Azpilicueta is a terrific full-back, you can learn so much from him, as I’ve also done from Paulo Ferreira in the past. But maybe there’s a second position up for grabs and I’m hoping to prove I’m ready.”