Petr Cech suggested that the Carabao Cup quarter-final win over Brentford was the ‘perfect game’ for the three Chelsea academy stars to kick start their careers.
Writing in his column for the club website, the iconic goalkeeper said the setting couldn’t have been more ideal for Harvey Vale, Jude Soonsup-bell and Xavier Simons to make their first-team debuts.
Story of the cup
In general, the preparation for Wednesday’s 2-0 victory had plenty of drawbacks.
At least three members of Thomas Tuchel’s squad were isolating through covid, whilst another three or four were struggling with injury.
This gave the Blues boss little choice but to promote several youngsters from the development sides to train alongside the seasoned internationals that were still available.
Tuchel had just a few days to get the batch of teenagers up to speed before making the short trip across London in mid-week.
For the five Cobham-born youth players that travelled to the Brentford Community Stadium, the timing of all the absences couldn’t have been better.
Specifically not for Vale, Soonsup-bell and Simons, who were thrown in from the first whistle by Tuchel.
“I have to say, it’s not been easy in recent days to prepare for games because there has been so many unknowns, where you basically every day sit and wait to find out who you have available,” confessed Cech.
“But this one turned out to be a perfect game for Harvey Vale, Jude Soonsup-Bell and Xavier Simons to start their senior careers.
“It is never easy when you just get called up for a couple of days and you start and there is responsibility on you as well.
“Their Academy games were cancelled for Covid, so they didn’t train much. They were on leave having a break and then got called up, so they needed to get back in quickly and prepare, but they were really happy I can tell you.
“For them it was definitely a special moment they enjoyed and they did really well.”
Special evening for the talented trio
It is certainly a night the three will not forget in a hurry.
Vale and Soonsup-bell led the line respectably, considering they were up against much senior and more experienced Premier League opposition.
Simons meanwhile had the hard task of filling in for Reece James at right wing-back, a task he stuck to admirably.
All were replaced after the interval by regulars in Tuchel’s group, which ultimately swung the tie in Chelsea’s favour.
But the contribution from the young guns should not be forgotten, especially heading into the busiest time of the campaign.
This is hopefully just the beginning of their journey into the big time for the Blues.
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