Mourinho pledges to guide Chelsea's Young Lions

Tuesday 29 Jul 2014
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Jose Mourinho has pledged to do his bit in helping to turn Chelsea’s rising English stars into senior internationals.

The Blues boss has shown his faith in homegrown trio Lewis Baker, Izzy Brown and Dominic Solanke by selecting them among his first-team squad throughout the pre-season. 

And the Portuguese has seen enough from them all to claim he will shoulder the responsibility if the starlets do not blossom into full internationals for the Three Lions in the future.

Lewis Baker in action for England U19s last season


Mourinho said: "My conscience tells me that if, for example, Baker, Brown and Solanke are not national team players in a few years, I should blame myself.

"They are part of a process the club started without me. In this moment, we have players who will be Chelsea players. And when they become Chelsea players, they will become England players, almost for sure.

"At 16 or 17, I don’t think it’s good for them to go somewhere else to play, like in the Championship. At 17, they have to train with us and they have to learn with us. They will learn a lot."

Of the current first team squad at Stamford Bridge, only John Terry is a product of the club’s academy, but 19-year-old Baker enjoyed a prolific 2013-14 season as he starred in Chelsea’s U21 Premier League title victory and many are tipping the England U19 international for big things.

Meanwhile, Brown and Solanke – two and three years younger than Baker respectively – were key players as Chelsea raced to FA Youth Cup glory with a thrilling 7-6 aggregate victory over local rivals Fulham.

Izzy Brown celebrates his match-winning goal after the game.

Izzy Brown impressed for club and country last season


It is thought Baker could be the one to make the breakthrough to the first team for the forthcoming season, while Brown and Solanke could get their chances in competitions such as the League Cup.

Earlier in the week, Mourinho also said that fellow English youngsters Patrick Bamford, John Swift and Nathanial Chalobah could be set for loan moves to gain valuable first-team experience.

"The other ones who are a bit older, 20 or 21, we feel they need to compete against men in a different league. They are ready to go to other clubs and have a good loan.

"What we are trying to do, and we believe we are going to be successful, is in a few years’ time, when they are between 20 and 23, we will have them back at the right moment and in the first-team team squad."

Chelsea continue their pre-season preparation on 30 July when they take on Vitesse Arnhem. 

They also have matches against Werder Bremen, Fenencvaros and Real Sociedad – before kicking-off their Premier League season against Burnley on 18 August.

By Jamie Reid Senior Writer