The League Cup has long provided a platform for England's top level clubs to blood fringe talent and the midweek defeat of Chelsea by Newcastle was no exception. The Pensioners, at one stage, found themselves 3-1 behind but were afforded an avenue back into the tie upon the introduction of Josh McEachran. Although the schemer had only 36 minutes he quickly became the go-to player for Carlo Ancelotti's side.
A week earlier he made his Champions League bow, becoming the first player born after the competition's inception in November 1992 to feature at that level. He was a late substitute against Zilina.
Primarily an attacking midfielder, McEachran has already earned comparisons with Jack Wilshere of Arsenal. Indeed, the more optimistic among the England fans have already postulated a Gerrard/ Lampard style tactical decision for the two at senior level for the Three Lions.
McEachran is comfortable in possession and moves easily through defenders while dribbling. He favours his left-foot and has a clever and inventive range of passing. He has proven himself to be an effective dead-ball specialist throughout his short career so far and is beginning to earn slots on the Chelsea bench for key matches.
The teenager has been at the club since the age of eight. He was plucked from the Oxford Mail Boys League, where he had been playing for Garden City. McEachran featured prominently for the club through various under-age ranks and had his first training session with the first team at the age of only 15.
McEachran formed a key part of Dermot Drummey's FA Youth Cup winning side last season, forming an effective central partnership with Irishman Conor Clifford. Indeed, he provided the captain with the winning goal in characteristic fashion in the closing minutes of the final's second leg against Aston Villa. Although naturally a prompter, McEachran is not averse to winning the ball back high in opposition territory. He was nigh-on unplayable in the games against Villa and marked himself out as the outstanding prospect in the Blue ranks.
His international career is burgeoning too, helping England to win the most recent edition of the Under-17 European Championships against Spain. It took McEachran a few games to truly hit his stride but he was excellent in the semis against France and in the final against la Rojita.
The Chelsea academy, which was revamped by Roman Abramovich, has come in for criticism in recent years as the club have failed to promote a regular first team player from within since John Terry's emergence around a decade ago. Should McEachran and his classmates graduate those words will have to be eaten.