Meet Tino Anjorin: The latest Chelsea academy star making a name for himself

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The youngster has been in fine form this season as he continues to dream of breaking into the first team at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea may be facing a tough task to hold on to gifted teenager Callum Hudson-Odoi amid strong interest from Bayern Munich, but the winger's rise to prominence has once more highlighted the quality of the Blues' youth academy.

Critics will say that John Terry was the last academy product to become an undisputed first-team player at Stamford Bridge, but plenty of excellent players have come through in recent years.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Ethan Ampadu have all featured this term, while graduates such as Nathan Ake and Bertrand Traore have been impressing at Bournemouth and Lyon, respectively. 

And there's still plenty of talent at the club that just can't wait to make the jump up to the first team sooner rather than later.

Here, Goal takes a look at the latest goings-on at the Blues' Academy - and picks out a few names to keep a close eye on in the coming weeks, months and years...

Tino Anjorin - Chelsea Under 23s

One of the outstanding candidates to emulate the likes of Hudson-Odoi and Ampadu to make it into the first team is Tino Anjorin, who joined the club's development centre as an Under 7 and has been around for nearly a decade now.

He was just 16 years old when he scored at the Emirates Stadium in the 7-1 FA Youth Cup final win over Arsenal last season and was the youngest player in the group to lift the coveted trophy.

It came during a season when Anjorin was part of Jody Morris' side winning an unprecedented quadruple at Under-18 level and his progression has continued ever since, with the midfielder now looking to be able to physically dominate opponents, too, as his growth adds to his technical skill.

Anjorin signed his first professional contract in November last year and the goalscoring midfielder will be looking to make the step up in the not too distant future. He is still just 17 years old, but conversations about a possible loan - or even a first-team introduction - are expected at the end of this campaign, with there potential for the youngster to follow in the footsteps of Hudson-Odoi.

His father Sheriff Anjorin has played a key role in Tino's development and quickly realised there was something special about his son after seeing him play a game in the seaside town of Poole.

"When he was three-and-a-half, he went and joined in a training session with six-year-olds," Anjorin senior told Goal.

"He was dribbling better and shooting with more power than those older than him, it was like he had been beamed back down to earth as a complete player overnight!

"After that he was always the standout player, people knew him before he even knew how to spell his name. He is a goalscoring midfielder in the Frank Lampard mould. Lampard was one of his idols, but so were Lionel Messi and Zinedine Zidane.

"He has a high level of technical ability, great finishing quality and a great passing range. We felt that the Chelsea environment was perfect for Tino. It has really stretched him. The training has always been harder than the matches, he's highly competitive and he just wants to get on the pitch and beat his opponent."

Anjorin remains in touch with his Nigerian heritage, which has been part of his upbringing. His grandma is from Lagos and lives in Lewisham, giving him that London connection. His other grandparents are ex-military, instilling tough values in a youngster battling in the cut-throat world of football.

Four goals in seven appearances for England's Under 18s have seen Anjorin establish himself on the international stage. Those call-ups were hard-earned, with Anjorin getting 10 goals in 15 games from midfield across various youth levels from U18 to U23 at Chelsea. 

Other academy talking points

  • Joe Edwards' Under 23s team produced another impressive run in the Checkatrade Trophy, where the Premier League youth teams compete against League One and League Two opposition. Last season, the Blues got to the semi-final, the furthest run of any youth team in the competition's history to date, but this time around they were knocked out at Stamford Bridge by a strong Peterborough United side. It was a good showing from the Blues but they were out-muscled by the League One club in January. Richard Nartey's header was not enough, as goals from Siriki Dembele, Ivan Toney and Marcus Maddison put their side in the quarter-final draw. Meanwhile, Chelsea are still only seven points off top spot in the Premier League 2, despite a poor January from the youthful Under 23 side. 
  • Andy Myers has his work cut out for him with the Under 18s after taking over from Jody Morris. Chelsea are used to dominating at this level but they have been knocked out of the FA Youth Cup by Manchester United, after winning the competition for the past five years in a row. The Blues are battling against Tottenham and Arsenal to win the Southern Division, after taking the silverware home last season. They are in third position and five points off table-toppers Spurs.
  • Billy Gilmour remains a standout performer across the various youth levels, putting in a particularly good showing against Peterborough in the Checkatrade Trophy.
  • Karlo Ziger produced heroics in goal against Leicester in the U18s league and has now earned a first loan move to Sutton United.
  • Loanees: Reece James continues to earn rave reviews at Wigan Athletic and put in another impressive display when facing fellow academy star Tammy Abraham as they beat Aston Villa 3-0. Abraham continues to compete for the Championship golden boot, though, netting 16 times so far, scoring every 112 minutes. Meanwhile, Mason Mount ended his goal drought over at Derby County at the end of December, while Izzy Brown is nearing his debut with Leeds United as he has stepped up his recovery from a cruciate ligament injury. Lewis Baker has switched his loan from Leeds to Reading, with Kasey Palmer scoring on his debut for Bristol City after his loan spell at Blackburn Rovers came to an end.

Premier League 2 results

Chelsea 0-1 Blackburn 

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Everton 2-0 Chelsea

UEFA Youth League results

Competition to continue in February

U18 Premier League results

Chelsea 2-2 Southampton

Leicester 2-3 Chelsea