Exeter manager amazed by ‘absolutely lightning’ 18-year-old Chelsea prospect

Exeter City manager Matt Taylor picked out Chelsea prospect Dion Rankine for praise after his performance against his side on Tuesday night.

The Blues Under-21s team ended up beating League Two opposition Exeter 4–3 on penalties in the Papa John’s Trophy last night.

It’s a competition where Chelsea’s Development Squad compete and they’ve gained an extra bonus point in the group stages after the penalty shootout win yesterday. The match was tied together at 1-1 during normal time. 

Chelsea boss Andy Myers played an exciting young XI, including upcoming talent Rankine.

Exeter boss Taylor was left wowed in his post-match interview by the pace of the 18-year-old defender, who was extremely effective as the right wing-back in their familiar system.

Rankine was a constant offensive threat with his speed in behind. Also, he skipped away from the opposition defender on numerous occasions with his quick dribbling and directness.

“You look at the physical profiles of their players they look quick. Certainly, that right-sided wing-back, he looked absolutely lightning,” Taylor said.

Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Is Dion Rankine another top full-back coming out of Chelsea?

If you look at the right-backs to come out of Cobham in the last few years it’s staggering. 

Chelsea star Reece James originally came from the youth system. Meanwhile, Tariq Lamptey and Tino Livaremtno are two right-backs that have ended up moving onto Premier League clubs after failing to break into the side at Stamford Bridge.

Rankine, who turns 19 in October, has a lot of similar attributes to the aforementioned. 

It’s too early to tell where the London-born speedster will end up, but this could be a major 2021/22 season for him where he steps up at youth level working towards a first senior opportunity. He’s got all the skills needed to be a successful wing-back. 

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A sports journalist who graduated from Staffordshire University in 2016 and is a Chelsea supporter. Loves anything football or cricket related when it comes to England.