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Chelsea academy player criticises lack of chances to play first-team football

When Charly Musonda scored on his full debut at Chelsea last month he was surely thinking his big break had arrived, but like many academy players before him he is growing frustrated with the lack of first-team opportunities.

Charly Musonda scored on his full debut at Chelsea Credit: PA

Earlier this week he told his 150,000 social media followers: "You sacrifice, you work hard, harder, you give more than what's expected, and often more than you can. And what do you get back? Literally nothing... done"

The Roman Abramovich era has undoubtedly brought huge success; five Premier League titles and glory for the first time in the Champions League.

That has been matched at academy level with Chelsea winning the FA Youth Cup six times in eight seasons, but the young players are struggling to break into the first team. John Terry is the most recent regular first team player who started at the club.

In fact, just 2% of league playing time in Chelsea’s first-team last season was by homegrown players. At Arsenal, by comparison, it was 15%.

Chelsea manager Antonio Conte Credit: ITV London

Since the start of 2014-15, Chelsea have completed 160 loan deals for 69 different players. Of these loanees that have since been sold (excluding older players) they have delivered a return on investment in transfer fees of around £60m.

21st Club are an analytics company who advise 12 Premier League clubs. Omar Chaudhuri, their head of football intelligence, says Chelsea’s model works for them.

Some clubs need to prioritise developing players and bringing them into the first team because young players are generally cheaper and therefore you can build a more cost efficient side, but Chelsea are one of the richest clubs in the world and have the revenues to attract the world’s best players which means it can be hard to bring players into the first team.

– Omar Chaudhuri, Head of Football Intelligence - 21st Club

Antonio Conte, Chelsea’s manager, insists there is a pathway for players to get into his first-team.

I think that we are committed to doing this. A lot of young players from the academy last season played different games and this season we started to give opportunities and I think this season could be a good opportunity for the players to breakthrough for Chelsea.

– Chelsea manager Antonio Conte