‘That’s my annoyance’: Ian Holloway says Tuchel is doing something at Chelsea which really frustrates him

Former Premier League manager Ian Holloway has criticised Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel for the lack of game time issued to teenagers at the club.

The 59-year-old was on TalkSport as he expressed his distaste at the statistic which revealed the Blues had issued zero minutes to teenagers in the Premier League this season, as covered by The Athletic earlier this week.

Chelsea’s long and gruelling season saw them reach the final of both domestic cup competitions, as well as securing Club World Cup glory in the United Arab Emirates.

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While academy prospects were offered brief opportunities in cup fixtures, those chances were not afforded in league fixtures, where the Blues took longer than expected to secure a top four finish.

This angered Holloway, who said: “That’s my annoyance. Plenty of young players were playing under Frank Lampard. Tuchel’s come in and put all the old ones back in. That’s not the way forward for Chelsea.”

Throughout Lampard’s tenure at the club, academy graduates Mason Mount and Reece James established themselves as crucial first team stars, roles they continue to possess for both club and country.

Even players such as Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham, both no longer at Stamford Bridge, made their top-flight breakthroughs under the club legend, however the path for future prospects doesn’t seem so clear.

While the Blues didn’t secure their top four finish until much later than expected, two golden opportunities arose at the end of the season after their Champions League place was confirmed.

Home fixtures against Leicester City and Watford closed the season for Chelsea, providing seemingly perfect opportunities for the manager to test out some of the hidden talent.

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Highly-regarded Harvey Vale was ill for the occasions, but players such as Lewis Hall, Jude Soonsup-Bell and Xavier Simons were overlooked.

The revelation may put more pressure on Tuchel to consider returning defender Levi Colwill, as the 19-year-old’s impressive loan spell at Huddersfield comes to an end.

Jack is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has freelanced for The Athletic and The Sun. Jack has reported live from Premier League and Championship grounds, whilst also being published in the Non League Paper.