You would be forgiven for not knowing that the Toulon Youth Tournament final took place Sunday night. It’s been obviously overshadowed by the Champions League final on Saturday, but as Chelsea fans, this game is perhaps of more importance to us, seeing how our youngsters Loftus-Cheek, Baker and Chalobah showcased what we know they are capable of doing on the night.
A Chelsea-filled England U-21 squad faced off against host France in the final, both teams having steam rolled opposition sides on the way to the showcase. The game eventually ended with a 2-1 victory for Gareth Southgate’s (and Steve Holland’s) young men. The win being England’s first since 1994, with the team that won at the time including the likes of Robbie Fowler and Sol Cambell.
Both of England’s goals were scored by Chelsea youngsters. The first was scored by one of our Vitesse players and former U-21 captain, Lewis Baker, who brilliantly chipped the advancing French goalkeeper with this header:
Then it was our Young Player of the Year’s turn. Ruben Loftus Cheek capitalized on a bit of luck, after a lightening quick England attack ended up with the youngster in front of the home side’s goal. The 20 year-old smoothly chipped the goalie with his foot this time to double England’s league before half time:
— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) May 29, 2016
France went on to have the difference with a second half goal, but it mattered little as our two young stars lead a promising generation of Englishmen to international glory, albeit in a tiny tournament.
Nathaniel Chalobah, who also started the final, put in another incredible performance at the centre of the pitch and was given the award for 3rd best player in the competition for his efforts.
The two bigger awards of Best Player and Top Scorer were deservedly given to Loftus-Cheek and Baker respectively:
— England (@England) May 29, 2016
Our three youngsters used their chances exceptionally well, and will hope to have given Antonio Conte an early selection headache, even if he is still doing his job with Italy for the upcoming Euros.
Let’s hope that our upcoming manager was taking some time off from his current job to check out what these guys are doing, and maybe just maybe, we could be seeing one-or hopefully more of them competing for a place in the starting 11 come next season.
As to whether they will or not is anybody’s guess, and it would certainly be a gamble on the Italian’s part to make the two youngsters part of his plans for 2016/17.