Monday Verdict: Chelsea missing trick; Vardy denigrated

Date published: Monday 23rd November 2015 12:05

Jamie Vardy: Leicester City striker's achievement has been downplayed

Jamie Vardy: Leicester striker scored in 11 straight games

Chelsea’s approach to youth development and the denigration of Jamie Vardy’s Premier League record feature in Mark Holmes’ weekend review.


Chelsea’s technical director Michael Emenalo gave an interview with the Sunday Telegraph in which he discussed the possibility of one of the club’s Academy players finally breaking into Jose Mourinho’s first team.

“No freebies” was Emenalo’s summary of Chelsea’s approach to blooding young players. They will not give chances to anyone unless certain they are better than a player already in possession of a shirt.

With justifiable concerns about the usefulness of the Under-21 league in preparing youngsters for the rigours of first-team football, Chelsea have therefore committed to sending as many as possible of their promising starlets out on loan – the Premier League champions currently have 33 players plying their trade elsewhere.

Referring to 18-year-old Dominic Solanke, who is on loan at Vitesse Arnhem, Emenalo said: “Do you leave him here to play another year of Under-21s when he is clearly too good for it? Do you have him train with the first team and get minimal minutes?

“Do you send him to a Championship team and have him deal with balls in the air? With 35-year-olds much stronger than him in a system that does not suit the cerebral type of player we want here?

“Or do you send him to a place you know he will get minutes and will be educated the right way?”

Emenalo said of another 18-year-old, Tammy Abraham: “Should I keep him back next season just so you guys don’t criticise us for having 35 players on loan or should I allow Tammy to go somewhere and develop?

Emenalo has a point. It might keep the press off their backs, but would Chelsea really be doing their young players a favour in retaining them for under-age football or for the odd cup appearance as a substitute?

Take Ruben Loftus-Cheek for an example. Mourinho said in the summer that he would not loan out the midfielder because “the best way for him to improve is to be working with us every day”, but the 19-year-old has started only one Premier League game so far this season – and was withdrawn at half-time. It’s hard not to believe he might have developed more playing regularly elsewhere.

Either way, there is a big flaw in Chelsea’s policy.

Clearly, they look at their young players out on loan in the same way as they would a potential signing, i.e. ‘is this player good enough for our first team?’ It might sound like a sensible policy, but sooner or later Chelsea will surely have to consider the possibility that they could actually bring through players of the quality of John Stones without having to spend in excess of £40million to sign them from elsewhere.

Kevin De Bruyne is the obvious example of a player who could have saved them a lot of money had they afforded him more first-team opportunities, while Romelu Lukaku might have made a huge difference to the Blues this season had they not been quite so keen to cash in on the Belgium while still raw. Then there is Nemanja Matic, who they sold only to buy back after he had gained experience playing for Benfica.

Mourinho said when he returned to Stamford Bridge that he wanted to develop young players and give Chelsea a true identity, but neither he nor Emenalo provide much hope that the club will not continue to rue ‘ones that got away’ in the years to come.


With Jamie Vardy on Saturday equalling Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record of scoring in 10 straight Premier League games, journalists have been rushing to point out that football did in fact exist prior to 1992 and that the record of scoring in consecutive top-flight games remains unparalleled for now.

Normally I would welcome such reminders, but the cynic in me wonders why so many journalists have jumped on the bandwagon regarding this particular record.

Martin Samuel, for example, wrote a lengthy article before Vardy’s goal at Newcastle about Jimmy Dunne’s all-time record and was keen to point out again on Sunday Supplement that the Leicester City striker had not equalled the ‘real’ record.

Yet, when the conversation turned to Everton, Samuel did not feel the need to argue against Romelu Lukaku’s achievement in becoming only the fifth player to score 50 Premier League goals before the age of 23.

On the Daily Telegraph’s website, meanwhile, on the Everton page, directly above an article entitled, ‘Jamie Vardy seeks Premier League history – but what is the all-time record he should really be chasing?’ is the report of the Toffees’ 4-0 win over Aston Villa which mentions Lukaku as ‘joining an elite group’ following his brace in the game.

It does not take much searching to further highlight the hypocrisy. Rightly or wrongly, ‘Premier League records’ are written and spoken about every weekend, yet only now regarding this Vardy record are high-profile journalists seeking to remind everyone of football prior to 1992.

Nobody can say whether there would have been the same downplaying of the achievement were it, say, Daniel Sturridge or Wayne Rooney equalling Van Nistelrooy’s record, but Vardy’s run is an incredible feat regardless of what parameters you care to set and does not deserve the denigration it has received over the past seven days.


Sticking with Leicester City, there is no need to patronise Claudio Ranieri’s side in discussing them as title or even top-four contenders.

After 13 games, it can certainly cannot be described as a fluke that they sit atop the Premier League – and the Foxes will for a few weeks at least be included in every poll about England’s likely Champions League representatives.

However, while they deserve all the praise they get for an exceptional start to the season, there needs to be realism about what the East Midlands side can achieve ahead of an extremely difficult run of games.

Leicester have so far played only four of last season’s top nine and in those games have picked up only three draws, against Tottenham, Southampton and Stoke City. In their one game to date against one of last season’s top four, they were beaten 5-2 by Arsenal.

That is not meant to take anything away from what they have achieved so far but rather to temper expectations ahead of fixtures against Manchester United, Swansea City, Chelsea, Everton, Liverpool and Manchester City before the end of the year.

There is nothing to say, of course, that the Foxes cannot take points from a good number of those six games, but any claims of a burst bubble should their momentum be halted can be ignored. Irrespective of what happens between now and the New Year, Leicester have already proven themselves as challengers for the ‘best of the rest’ eighth place – and are currently seven points clear in the race.

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Home Forums Monday Verdict: Chelsea missing trick; Vardy denigrated

This topic contains 96 replies, has 21 voices, and was last updated by  nine nine nine 1 year, 1 month ago.

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    Mark Holmes

    Chelsea’s approach to youth development and the denigration of Jamie Vardy’s Premier League record feature in Mark Holmes’ weekend review.

    [See the full post at: Monday Verdict: Chelsea missing trick; Vardy denigrated]



    The last most recent player was Ruud Van Nistelrooy of course, but perhaps, those other records unearthed were exactly of that, face value and if anything, a mere mention in tribute not to at all undermine Jamie Vardy.

    Te achievement in itself, is just top draw, because football;s caned tactically, and wit the game being a lot quicker so more productivity is demanded of an individual tan before.

    Apparently, Jon Aldridge is also one of those other names to ave achieved this.

    Obviously being a Leicester local, I;m absolutely ecstatic and it;s an unbelievable achievement. If he can go one better this weekend ten wow, heartfelt.

    Big big game too for the foxes. I really hope for the love of football, the momentum keeps going.




    Those who say Chelsea never give youth a chance always overlook it when players like Zouma and Kennedy start playing regularly.


    Mark Holmes

    The point is, Sensible7, that I’ve never known such a clamour from the press to point out that football existed before 1992 until Vardy closed on and got a PL record.

    Flatsy, Chelsea bought both of those players, which is exactly my point: if they actually gave a chance to some of the youngsters they’ve developed themselves, they might find there is no need to spend massive amounts on the best young players from other clubs.



    the article is true we always promise we will integrate and bring on the best youth but it never happens even when the team is playing badly and I would even go further and say a lot of our youngsters could do better than half the present first team squad, you cannot count youngsters such as Courtios, Zouma and Kennedy they are not from the academy and its the same as buying high profile players at a tidy sum, in fact the whole team is young except for 3 or 4 players but none are from the highly successfull academy, there are no excuses just a lack of trust, wisdom and ability to recognize the truth which is the team would be stronger should some of the academy players be integrated as promised by the management.


    Johnny Utah

    Flatsy, Zouma cost £12m and Kenedy cost £6.5m. They are not examples of young players developed be Chelsea.



    Maybe the press themselves wanted to make a point of football existing before the Prem. I actually picked the facts/stats up from Radio 5 when they were previewing the 3 o clocks.

    I guess it might have been to remind the slightly younger supporter that football did exist before 1992.

    I can see to a degree where they were coming from 😉


    Mark Holmes

    Sensible, you’re completely missing my point! The press are happy to talk about ‘Premier League records’ every weekend but suddenly, because Jamie Vardy gets one, they want to remind us all that football started before 1992!

    Like I say in the piece, none of them have written articles downplaying Lukaku’s achievement in becoming only the fifth player to score 50 PL goals before the age of 23.

    Perhaps I’m being over cynical, but it’s been noticeable to me how much Vardy’s achievement has been downplayed.



    We were saying on the weekend we have not seen anything like Vardy since I believe the days of Jimmy Greaves



    Mark, I see what you mean; it seems you came across the wrong type of media outlet.

    In fairness, this is a unique record and not something let;s be outright is achieved every week; proof of the pudding in Van Nistelrooy;s record ecplised well over a decade.

    A nice bit of fuss thankfully was made on Motd, Sat;day night and great to see Vardy himself in modesty.

    A lot of people as mentioned in my previous reply might not be aware and I for one wasn;t aware re John Alridge.

    I do get what you mean in the nuance projected from the press to try and undermine Vardy.

    Well picked up on that one!

    p.s. Mark;s moan on Monday;s is back ;-))



    Mark – To be fair most of the press I have seen is about Vardy equalling the Premier League record, but a few (not many) have also pointed out the football records, I just think this is normal once he has reached the Premier League record he should be looking at the next one. It is like beating the European record in an athletics event, you don’t just stop there you then go for the world record.

    From my point of view Vardy’s is better than RVN as RVN was across two seasons and two of the games in the 10 he only scored a pen, compared to Vardy’s 1 in 10.



    Mark, if your point was just about academy players why mention De Bruyne, Lukaku and Matic



    There have been volumes written about Chelsea’s worst start to a Premier League season. I cannot recall a single article mentioning their dismal record in the old first division league.


    Mark Holmes

    Good example, LU4ever. Premier League records are written about literally every single weekend yet only now are (quite a few) journalists talking about pre-92 records.

    Flatsy, you make a fair point, but hopefully you understood mine too despite me mentioning those three players?


    nine nine nine

    Vardy still has to beat Jimmy Dunne’s all time scoring record of scoring in 12 concesutive games for Sheffield United in 1931/32 imagine how hard it was then on those pitches in those big heavy boots and the old laced up leaden football’s.

    Vardy’s achievement overshadows RVN’s previous revord imo purely because RVN did it across two seasons playing in a much better team.



    Nine, I think based on that fact of your opening paragraph (something I was unaware of), I can see were certain quarters of the media researched and brought these out on the table on the day of Vardy aiming to equal RVN.

    Just had a look back at Italy 90 (tinking about goals in consecutive games and Toto Schillaci (remember him?!) was 1 game sort of scoring in every possible game he played.

    What a player!



    Sensible – I disagree, not what a player, but more what a tournament that player had.



    Mark, its good to read your articles again <3

    Curious why your column is now named “verdict”? Monday Moan is still better and more relevant for me.


    Why is Vardy’s a better achievement because he did it all in one season? What has that got to do with it? If anything, its ‘easier’ to do it in one season as you have continued momentum. RvN had to stop then start again.

    No surprise its Paxman trying to belittle the achievement of a Utd player though. Pretty standard for him nowadays.



    Sometimes (well most of the time) I don’t get the English media. The constant flow of negativity concerning England players is to me ridiculous. There’s Euro 16 on the horizon and you’ve got Vardy and Kane on a great scoring run for their clubs. You’ve got Sturridge recovering and Wayne of course. England has all of the sudden got great options in attack.
    We’ve seen it in the past; Gerrard, Ferdinand, Beckham and Rooney (to name a few) have probably gotten more negative coverage in the media than positive.
    When Gylfi Sigurdsson scores a goal for Swansea, it’s headline news here in Iceland. We went nuts when Alfred Finnbogason scored the winner at the Emirates for Olympiakos. We don’t get news of these guys going to a shopping mall with a supermodel or when they show up at a bar. It’s none of our business.
    On another note, I agree with Chelsea loaning out youth players. But you then wonder why they have youth players at all. Mourinho doesn’t have the patience or the time to give them the chance. He likes ready players. Matic, Lukaku and DeBruyne all test to that. He could have saved his club a lot of money on these players, had he given them the break. But he didn’t and that’s just his way of doing things. You may like it or not. I don’t and that’s the main reason he was never really considered for the Old Trafford job when SAF retired.

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