Antonio Conte has a reputation for preferring experienced players, but that didn’t stop him from blooding a number of youngsters throughout his time as Chelsea manager.
During his two seasons at Stamford Bridge, Conte handed out eight debuts to kids from the Chelsea academy and it’s fair to say some have gone on to do better than others.
We’ve gone back through the years and checked in on those eight debutants and have found what they are up to these days.
The first Cobham graduate to make his bow under Conte, Aina made his Chelsea debut in a League Cup victory over Bristol Rovers in August 2016.
He’d make his Premier League debut two months later, but the left-back struggled to win Conte’s trust. He was sent on loan to Hull for 2017-18 and would later join Torino after a successful loan spell in Italy.
Having won 30 caps for Nigeria, Aina has proven himself at both club and international level. He moved to Nottingham Forest this summer and made his debut in their season opener at Arsenal.
Chalobah made his first-team debut in September 2016, when he came off the bench to replace Michy Batshuayi in the 79th minute of the win over Leicester in the League Cup. He even set up a goal on his second appearance.
The midfielder played for six clubs in four years whilst on loan at Chelsea before moving to Watford permanently in 2017. After four years and one England appearance, Chalobah moved to Fulham and helped them gain promotion to the Premier League.
He’s currently back in the Championship with West Brom.
Chelsea’s Community Shield defeat to Arsenal in August 2017 is best remembered for Conte’s feud with Diego Costa and Thibaut Courtois’ hilarious missed penalty.
But it was also the match where Musonda made his first Chelsea appearance. He made his first start one month later, scoring in a 5-1 victory over Nottingham Forest, but never troubled the scoresheet wearing blue again.
Loan spells at Celtic and Vittese followed before Musonda left the club permanently in 2022 to join Spanish outfit Levante.
In September of that year, Musonda played his first professional game in over 1000 days after a period of long injury. We wish him all the best.
What if Gary Cahill didn’t get sent off? That is the first question that comes to mind when thinking of the name Jeremie Boga.
After thriving in the 2017-18 pre-season, Conte decided to give the youngster a chance in the season’s opening match against Burnley. But those 18 minutes Boga spent on the pitch would turn out to be his only time wearing the club colours.
Now at Nice, after starring at Atalanta, Boga has developed into a fine winger capable of racking up goals and assists. He’s certainly no worse than the Liquorice Allsorts currently at Stamford Bridge.
19/20 season Jeremie Boga, it was a beautiful sight
One of my favourite players to watch in Serie A, not sure why it never worked out at Atalanta.
— Uncle $harma
(@RSharmzz) July 24, 2023
It looked for a while like Ampadu would become part of the furniture at Chelsea; he replaced Cesc Fabregas during the aforementioned win over Forest in September 2017 and became the first player born in the 2000s to play for the club.
The Wales international ended up making 12 appearances for the Blues, amid loan spells at Leipzig, Sheffield United, Venezia and Spezia, but was sold to Leeds for £7.5million this summer as Todd Boehly looked to drum up funds.
Ampadu arrives at Elland Road after suffering three successive relegations in his last stints, but he’s made a very bright start in Daniel Farke’s otherwise unsettled Leeds side.
Sterling joined Chelsea at the age of eight and replaced Davide Zappacosta (remember him?) during the final stages of that League Cup romp against Nottingham Forest.
Loans across a number of Championship clubs (Coventry, Wigan, Blackpool and Stoke) before Chelsea finally cut the chord with the defender this summer. He’s since joined Scottish giants Rangers and is still only 23.
What’s happened to Hudson Odoi?
Given his Chelsea debut in their FA Cup victory over Newcastle in January 2018, the winger burst into the public consciousness under Maurizio Sarri the following year and earnt himself an England call-up.
But his form began to wane under Frank Lampard and the player has never truly recovered; Thomas Tuchel played him more, but stuck him at wing-back rather than in the forward positions where he did such damage under Sarri.
After a failed loan spell at Bayer Leverkusen, Hudson-Odoi looks destined to leave Stamford Bridge and has been heavily linked with a move to Fulham.
That humungous bid from Bayern Munich in 2019 seems an age ago now.
Arguably the least memorable name on his list, Scott made one appearance for Chelsea in an FA Cup victory over Hull City in February 2018. He was released 15 months later.
After two years at Newcastle without playing a game, the midfielder relocated to the States as he signed for FC Cincinnati. Alas, his contract was terminated after just four appearances in the MLS.
In 2023, Scott remains in America and turns out for USL Championship side Orange County SC.
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The article Where are they now? The 8 kids given their Chelsea debut by Antonio Conte appeared first on Planetfootball.com.