'Mad talent': Some Chelsea fans blown away 18-year-old academy star's display for the U21's last night

Those Chelsea supporters who were keeping an eye on the Under-21’s fixture last night were mightily impressed by Dion Rankine’s exhibition.

The Blues’ development squad travelled to Exeter City last night for their opening Papa John’s Trophy outing.

Andy Myers watched on as his talented youngsters combated and competed with the League Two team all evening.

Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

They took the lead through Bryan Fiabema, only to be pegged back in the dying embers by a late penalty.

But Chelsea managed to seal the victory in the resulting shootout, winning 4-3 after some heroics from Teddy Sharman-Lowe.

There were several stand-out performances from the boys in Blue, but Rankine certainly caught the eye.

Photo by Clive Howes – Chelsea FC/Chelsea FC via Getty Images

He was a menace to the Exeter back-line and could have etched his name onto the scoresheet on numerous occasions.

The wing-back earned great applause from the Chelsea fans on social media during and after the tie.

Here’s how they reacted on Twitter:

https://twitter.com/richardamofa/status/1430249262420537349?s=12

Even the Exeter City media man credited Rankine for his contributions.

Although possibly arriving on the radar of some for the first time, Rankine is already renowned within the walls of Cobham.

Last season, the teenager made 26 appearances for the Under-18’s and 23’s.

In that period, he played in all manner of positions, deployed on both wings and once as an attacking midfielder.

Watch this space.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.