Talking of the best youngsters producing clubs, Chelsea certainly have to be mentioned among the best European teams. The previous season was the perfect example where Frank marched youths of Chelsea to a top 4 finish. Frank and the board backed and gave many youngsters their much deserved debuts after their great performances at the academy level which were followed by amazing performances in their loan spells all across the Europe. Summing this up, being a graduate from Chelsea academy is the best thing right now as despite the age you will certainly be rewarded for your performance.
One such youngster looking all so promising is Ian Maatsen.
Who is Ian Maatsen?
Dutch born Ian Ethan Maatsen is an 18 year-old left back currently at loan to Charlton Athletic from Chelsea. He in his early career played for Feyenoord but was released for being too small. He then moved to PSV Eindhoven and finally secured a moved to Chelsea in 2019.
Since then he has played 64 matches for Chelsea U-23, U-18 and Development squads and has really impressed a lot. A solid defender, he can contribute in attack as well. He is one of the best when you talk of blocking the ball. He is the one you can rely to win one on one tackles in spite of not being that physically strong. A defender is often judged by his ability to read the game and at this tender age, this guy has one of the brightest ball reading abilities. He has one of the highest interceptions count per game and then possesses enough talent to turn it into a meaningful attacking play.
Also Maatsen has a very good vision in picking the right passes and has one of the best key pass records as a defender amongst the players he has played with. Good in making attacking runs he has an impressive 0.2 goal contributions per 90 considering he is more of a defending threat and has not started many games. He with his left foot can play perfect long balls that can completely turn the momentum of the game.
But there is still room for improvement as he becomes too aggressive and is often on the end of receiving a card. He has to work on discipline and also on crossing to improve and with one or two loan spells, he certainly has the time to improve. A full-back is often asked to ‘hug the touchline’ and under great mentorship he will add this trait to his bag as well.
Before the season, Chelsea’s most vulnerable position was the left back position but with the addition of Ben Chilwell, the position looks sorted for years. But still with Alonso and Emerson not certainly up to the standards, and Azpi in his curtailing years, Chelsea need someone to back Chilwell and also push him for the starting spot. Ian Maatsen can be the solution to the problem but this cannot be instant as player has a lot to learn and with another loan spell next season, maybe at the top tier, will make him ready for the Chelsea squad. But he has competition in form of Juan Castillo, another young left back pushing for the same spot as Maatsen.
But certainly Chelsea do not have to bother much for the position for a number of years to come.