Chelsea’s U-19 team captured the UEFA Youth League title last week, while the Blues’ U-18 squad is set to compete in its fourth-straight FA Youth Cup final this weekend.
Among the group of highly-rated and successful youngsters is 19-year-old midfielder Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who made his first-team debut in a 7-minute substitute appearance earlier this year and has been handpicked by Mourinho as the pick of the litter, alongside Andreas Christensen and Dominic Solanke.
“Next season, Ruben will not be a kid in the development process. He will be a first-team player, absolutely ready to play and compete. And we will do the same with two or three or four players.
“Some of the older ones will go on loan to play every game in the Championship or the Premier League, even abroad. And we will bring some of the younger ones into the process. But to have them all at the same time in the first-team squad is hard.
“I cannot have a squad of 10 men and 10 kids. I must have a squad like we have now of 16 or 17 seniors and three or four kids.”
Of course, Chelsea could choose to go out this summer and spend $60 million to sign Paul Pogba from Juventus, effectively blocking any path into the first team for Loftus-Cheek.
Often times at a big club like Chelsea — or Manchester City, who have also invested heavily in their youth academy but are yet to see much payoff for the first team — there’s a major disconnect between those in charge of the youth academy and the head in charge of the first team.