Thursday 22 March 2018

Chalobah set for 88th cap but still waiting for Chelsea debut

Nathaniel Chalobah
Nathaniel Chalobah

Matt Law

Nathaniel Chalobah may still be waiting to make his competitive debut for Chelsea, but the midfielder will win his 88th England cap if he plays for the U-21s against Norway tonight.

There is no official record for the most capped youth player, but the English FA are confident that Chalobah has already set an unofficial landmark having made his U-16 debut at the age of 13 in 2008.

James Milner, who holds the record for the most U-21 appearances with 46, won a total of 70 England caps at U-16 to U-21 level.

This is the first season that Chalobah has not started out on loan since signing his first professional contract at Chelsea in 2012, two years after being named as an unused substitute against Newcastle United as a 15-year-old.

He was on the bench for the matches against Watford and Bristol Rovers games this season and there was further encouragement to be taken for some of Chelsea's young English players from this summer's transfer window.

Having already signed N'Golo Kante, Chelsea looked at adding another midfielder to their squad in the final weeks of the transfer window and discussed a move for Inter Milan's Marcelo Brozovic.

But the Blues backed away from what would have been a complicated deal, meaning Chalobah and his U-21 team-mate Ruben Loftus-Cheek are very much among Antonio Conte's options in the middle of the park.

Chelsea have sent a staggering 38 players out on loan this summer as part of a policy that has provoked much criticism over recent years and raised question marks over the club's stockpiling of talent.

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