Andreas Christensen became the first Academy player to play three consecutive games for the Chelsea since John Terry, when the 21-year-old Dane started against Liverpool last weekend. The Stamford Bridge club have put a lot of money into their youth set-up over the last decade, but they just haven’t been able to turn their most talented youngsters into first-team regulars.
This is something Chelsea have been repeatedly criticised for, but judging by the early season form of Christensen, The Blues have a potentially world-class defender on their hands, who wouldn’t look out of place in any top side. So convincing have been his performances, that David Luiz’s extended exclusion from Antonio Conte’s starting XI has barely been noticeable.
Chelsea beat off competition from several other European superpowers including Manchester United, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich to sign a 15-year-old Christensen from Danish side Brondby in 2012.
Having spent a few seasons in the Stamford Bridge side’s youth set up, the talented defender was handed his Premier League debut during the 2014/2015 campaign by Jose Mourinho in an end of season game against Sunderland.
Christensen was then loaned out to Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach on a two-year-deal in 2015. During his spell in Germany the 21-year-old made 62 appearances and earned rave reviews for a string of top-class performances.
Christensen is blessed with a phenomenal turn of pace, but most impressive is the level of maturity in his game.
He seems to lack the understandable rashness that so many centre-backs display early in their careers, and is rarely seen diving into challenges.
Excellent positional awareness and outstanding passing ability also rank high on Christensen’s list of impressive attributes. He has averaged a 93.6 % pass completion rate in his seven Premier League appearances so far this season.
However, judging by the level of performances that Christensen has put in this season – especially against Man City, Liverpool, Man United and Spurs – he may finally be the first member of Chelsea’s youth academy since John Terry, not to play three consecutive games that is, but to enjoy a long and successful career with the club.
Antonio Conte rates the young Danish international highly, so much so that he is prepared to sell David Luiz to Real Madrid in January.
Christensen looks to have a major part to play for The Blues this season, and with his country having qualified for the World Cup in Russia this looks like the year a Chelsea youngster finally announces their class to the world.