Stamford Bridge Young Guns: Alfie Gilchrist learning from the best – John Terry

Arnold Lewis
By Arnold Lewis
8 Min Read

If there was one thing Roman Abramovich would have been proud of before he had to sell Chelsea, it would have been the fact that his academy project was finally a success.

Even before the Russian billionaire bought Chelsea back in 2003, his primary objective was to build a football academy that would be class apart from the rest. The former Chelsea owner envisioned the academy producing players that would eventually make their first-team bow at Stamford Bridge.

However, even though he was able to build a best in class football academy, very few players would actually go on and cement them as first-team regulars. It wasn’t until 2020 that the likes of Mason Mount and Reece James became a prominent figure in the senior-team dressing room.

Since then, the Blues have overseen an influx of academy payers making appearances for the senior squad and Abramovich couldn’t be happier seeing this. Dozens have been sold for good money or cemented their spot in the senior squad and next in line who looks to make a good claim of his stake is Alfie Gilchrist.

Gilchrist has been part of the travelling squad that is participating in the US pre-season tour, but very little is known about him. Below is a breakdown of his career analysis, scout report and style of play.

Alfie Gilchrist – Player analysis

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Alfie Gilchrist is a 19-year-old defender who plays as a centre-back for Chelsea. A right-footed player, who is comfortable playing in most of the systems, preferably a back three or a back four.

The English Youth international joined the Blues at the age of 11 and was signed as an Under-11 from Queens Park Rangers. Coming from a family of Chelsea supporters, Gilchrist already has the winning mentality that most players lack at such a young age.

He has made several appearances for Chelsea in all age groups, except for the first-team. After catching the eye of the Chelsea faithful back in 2018 with a string of consistent displays along the U18 team, Gilchrist signed his first professional contract with the Blues.

Further along the road in the 2020/21 season, the young centre-back made 18 appearances for the academy team where he also scored a goal. The English defender also made one appearance in the FA Youth Cup and it was because of these achievements he was picked as Chelsea’s 2021 Scholar of the Year.

It was only getting better for Gilchrist from there and the next season was where he really put his name out there. Captaining the Chelsea U18 squad, Gilchrist played a huge role in the team’s success that reached the semi-finals of the FA Youth Cup and also won the U18 Premier League Cup.

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He was tested to his limits in the 2022/23 season where he was tasked with captain duties of the U23 team. With Bashir Humphreys’ departure on loan, Gilchrist relished the role and one that only made him a better player. The English youth international made a total of 22 starts in the Premier League 2 alongside four EFL trophy games against senior teams like Bristol Rovers, Forest Green Rovers, Oxford United and Peterborough in the last two seasons, winning all four of those.

The Chelsea U23 captain also made three U19 appearances in the UEFA Youth League, putting in excellent displays that only made his stocks rise even higher. His efforts were recognized when he was nominated for the PL2 Player of the Season award. With one goal and an assist, Gilchrist put in a phenomenal defensive display through the 22/23 season for a Chelsea development squad that finished third in the league.

The no-nonsense centre-back helped his team keep six clean sheets out of seven matches in the event where he played the full 90 minutes. Gilchrist was also named on the bench of Frank Lampard’s Chelsea team in a game against Manchester United. A natural leader on and off the pitch, this is just the start of his long and young career and one that can only get better.

Speaking to the club’s official website, he said, “I try to lead by example on and off the pitch, as I believe how I act and respond to situations can positively or negatively impact the squad.

“I think it’s important for me to maintain my standards and improve myself, as well as being someone the coaching staff can rely on. I also enjoy the added responsibility. In all honesty, I think it has made me a better player.

“In the game against Watford, we lost a little bit of concentration despite our fast start and that is what allowed Watford to have a chance at beating us. We need to make sure that when we have the momentum, we remain strong rather than making the game nervy.”

With John Terry’s return to the club as an academy specialist consultant, things should go smoothly for Gilchrist. He will be learning from the best in the game and a legend of the club. The young centre-back clearly idolizes Terry and will learn all there is from the former colossal centre-back.


He added how great it is to have Terry at the training ground with the younger players. “John is who I look up to for sure,” he said last year.

“I want to work on my game and lead by example, as he did for so many years at this club. The fact that he is here to offer advice and coaching as well makes my goals that much more achievable.”

The progress Alfie Gilchrist has shown in such a short time is immense. A loan move is the right solution for him in the immediate future. Although, with Wesley Fofana out for the season, Mauricio Pochettino might consider retaining the services of the young defender.

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