Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Chelsea Promote Another Teenager To The First-Team: Is He Set For Greatness?

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Jack O’Brien
A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.

According to Express, Thomas Tuchel has promoted Xavier Mbuyamba to the first team. The Chelsea youngster has apparently made a solid impression during his time with the reserves and was, therefore, given the chance to train with the senior side during the international break. Mbuyamba has already expressed his gratitude, claiming he is now ready to step up his game and make an impact at Stamford Bridge.

Who is Xavier Mbuyamba?

Formerly of the FC Barcelona academy, Xavier Mbuyamba was brought to Stamford Bridge last summer by previous coach Frank Lampard. He was directly drafted into the reserve side, with the hopes of making a swift breakthrough and earning a promotion to the top-flight by the start of the 2021/22 campaign.

The move didn’t go exactly as planned, though, with the youngster picking up a meniscus injury that kept him out of action for a large chunk of the campaign. As such, he could not feature regularly for the ED squad in Premier League 2. But the 19-year-old has hit the ground running since recovering from the injury.

Indeed, Mbuyamba has started three games in Premier League 2 so far, and has impressed in his training. A centre-back by trade, his imposing 1.95m physique has certainly turned a lot of heads in the youth competitions, which is why the player was given the opportunity to train with the first team instead.

Even apart from his physique, Mbuyamba was always advertised as a smart defender who can read the game and press the opposition at every opportunity. The ability to play out from the back is another trait in his locker, indeed making him one of the most impressive youth players in the CFC academy right now.

Thomas Tuchel has promoted Xavier Mbuyamba - Does he have what it takes?
Xavier Mbuyamba of Chelsea U23 during the Premier League 2 behind closed doors match between Chelsea U23 and Southampton U23 at the Kingsmeadow Stadium, Kingston, England on 12 April 2021. PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUK Copyright: xAndyxRowlandx PMI-4124-0016

Mbuyamba’s Prospects In First-Team This Season

In a summer transfer window that saw them miss out on top target Jules Kounde and sanction the departure of both Fikayo Tomori and Kurt Zouma, the young centre-backs, as well as the existing first-team options, certainly have an exciting opportunity to further establish themselves as key components in Thomas Tuchel’s first-team plans.

For Mbuyamba, achieving a more prominent role might be difficult, as he is trailing behind the likes of Antonio Rudiger, Andreas Christensen, Malang Sarr and Trevoh Chalobah in the pecking order.

But it has clearly been established that Tuchel is willing to give out youngsters a chance to prove themselves and that is where the 19-year-old should seize his opportunity. He is already training with the first team right now and should be able to impress the onlookers with his dedication and grit.

Other than that, it is hard to imagine the Dutchman becoming a star player for Chelsea overnight. He needs to remain patient while it will be interesting to see if the Blues are tempted to ship him out on loan in January.

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