Wonderkid Central Part VII: Ishe Samuels-Smith – The Versatile Prodigy

Kartik Jain
By Kartik Jain
6 Min Read

Chelsea sign a footballing genius, yet again!! In football, having a left-footed defender is a rarity and to have one who can master the flanks and also play as central defender if required is as scarce as a hen’s teeth. Decades have passed playing this wonderful game yet the supply of such defenders has been minimal. Chelsea however have been able to scout this scarce gene in Ishe Samuels-Smith. The 17-year-old youngster from Everton is the latest signing at Stamford Bridge. He had been under their radar since last season and the Blues are finally Smith’s proud owners.

Samuels-Smith has signed a 3 year deal with Chelsea for $ 5 million dollars. Mauricio Pochettino’s side were successful in signing the youngster amidst interests from Tottenham Hotspur, Newcastle United and Manchester City. Every Premier League was chasing the Englishman and had their hearts set on him, but why?

Who is Ishe Samuels-Smith?

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Ishe Samuels-Smith is an academy graduate of Everton who has been with the club since he was 8. Both a centre-back and a full-back, he has been the heart and soul of Merseyside youth academy playing for every age group past U15s. He has also been a regular in England’s U15, U16, and U17 tournaments.

In the recently concluded U17 Euro Championships, he was also named in the team of the tournament; only English player to do so this year. Smith was a regular in the U21 squad of Everton while he was also benched in 2 games for Everton’s senior team. He did not feature in any of those games but nonetheless commanded his capability to play the elite league to his suitors.

He will probably not slot directly into Mauricio Pochettino’s side as well but will likely make a strong status for Chelsea’s U18 and U21 categories. Ishe Samuels-Smith will be joined by big names in Cesare Casadei, Gabriel Slonina, Carney Chukwumueka and Andrey Santos who had joined Chelsea last season.

This season too, Todd Boehly’s men have gotten their hands on prime jewels of football. Before Samuels-Smith they already penned down contracts with Diego Moreira and Alex Matos and are extremely close in bringing the Brazilian wonderkid Matheus Franca from Flamengo.

Style of Play

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Samuels-Smith has been termed as the next Leighton Baines. Just like the legendary left-back of Everton, Ishe loves to bully opponents. He is a beast on the pitch who loves to snatch the ball from attackers and make Swift runs in order to encourage counter-attack. He is someone who doesn’t shy away from bringing his body on the line or making risky slides near the penalty box.

His concentration with the ball is far above par which when coupled with his speed off the flanks does wonders. Whilst he surely is gifted with a strong left-foot, his strength is justified in his crosses. He has the ability to make pin-point crosses into the box and lay down goal-scoring chances for his teammate.

The 6 foot 3 inch left-back is a no nonsense guy who goes about his business with ease. A gifted versatile defender, he can also develop into a number 4 as and when required. A luxury that every manager would want in his pocket.

Ishe Samuels-Smith and Chelsea

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Chelsea have surely hit the jackpot in the Englishman which if grooved properly can be their next best thing. It will be hard to discard his chances for the first team but it will majorly depend on Chelsea’s transfer window. The exit of Cesar Azpilicueta has surely opened the window panes for a full-back but Ishe needs to be groomed.

The full-back will most likely feature in U18 & U21 squad and will have to perform exceedingly well if he yearns to catch the eyes of Mauricio Pochettino. And he will have to be prepared for a call anytime. As many youngsters have shown in the past, they just need one chance to make an impact.

Samuels-Smith may get a game or two in the Cups but for him to lock in a place in the Premier League, it will be an uphill task. The lad has talent but we will have to wait and see how he orchestrates his skills when coupled with the pressure of playing for Europe’s best with World’s best.

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