Stamford Bridge Young Guns: Leo Castledine ready for Chelsea first-team

Arnold Lewis
By Arnold Lewis
5 Min Read

The Chelsea Academy production conveyer belt never stops. There’s no arguing that yes most of the talents that have come through or nurtured at the Cobham academy have not prospered at Chelsea.

But that should not get away from the fact the Blues do have an eye for talent and also have one of the best academy setups in world football. From the likes of Ron Harris, John Terry and now Reece James, Chelsea Academy are ready to welcome their next best talent – Leo Castledine.

Leo Castledine is a young English footballer who plays for the Chelsea U18s and U21s. He is rated by many in and around Cobham and Stamford Bridge and is marked as the real deal. An analysis on how good is he and whether will he ever break into the current competitive Chelsea first-team squad.

Leo Castledine – Player analysis

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Leo Castledine hasn’t been a Chelsea player forever and only joined the Blues at age 14 in 2020. The midfielder before that was part of the Wimbledon academy setup where he joined them at the age of eight.

The former Wimbledon prospect was following in the footsteps of another club legend at the club – who also turned out to be his father – Stewart Castledine. Leo like his father, also likes to dominate the midfield for his team, so it is very clear where he picked up those traits from.

Like many other Chelsea Academy graduates, Leo also graduated from Whitgift highschool. Castledine got through with a sports scholarship where he was a star player for his Rugby team. Surprising isn’t it?

After he joined Chelsea permanently in 2020, he switched his focus solely to football despite requests to turn back to rugby. However, Castledine’s rugby abilities came into good use while playing football on the field. The raw muscle power he generates at such a young age is very rare, which is why he has played most of his youth football with players above his age group.

Man of the previous Stamford Bridge greats have already earmarked him as the next best thing at the academy. Frank Lampard knows him from his first-spell at Chelsea and noticed his talents for the U18s. John Terry and Ashley Cole were of the same opinion as Lampard who now spend a part-time role in the development of Chelsea Youths.

The toughness he shows resembles what a Chelsea player signifies when they are on the pitch. Chelsea’s tactic of going after the most sought-after talents in Europe might be great, but they surely will have plans for the best academy player in years.

MUST READ: Stamford Bridge Young Guns – Alex Matos joins Blues’ youth revolution

Leo Castledine’s style of play

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According to Chelsea U21s coach Mark Robinson, Leo Castledine is already good enough for the Chelsea first-team. While fans outside Cobham might disagree with that opinion, Robinson knows what he’s talking about.

The Chelsea U21s coach was only given his role in 2022, but even in that short frame of time, Castledine has shown enough glimpses of himself to prove otherwise. Robinson has mostly thrown the now 17-year-old in the middle of the park, late in games to come with the goods required.

Castledine hasn’t disappointed and has scored goals at crucial moments even against players well above his levels. The tenacity he shows while on and off the ball is second to none which immediately fazes the opponents.

He is a hard-tackler which can be understood because he started his initial days in football as a centre-back. These little aspects have helped him become the kind of footballer he is today and which is why deserves a shot at the first-team.

Mauricio Pochettino’s Chelsea are light in midfield right now, and the time is right to push Castledine into the frame of things. He has proved in the past he has the composure to deal with such pressure and ability has never been a problem for the former Wimbledon guy. A player who is already ahead of schedule will only benefit from a chance of following his dreams.

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