Chelsea criticised for neglecting local talent and choosing to spend overseas

Sunday, November 11th, 2018 1:10pm

By Matt Ford @Matt_Journalist

Alan Hudson has taken a swipe at his former club Chelsea by slamming their unwillingness to bring through home-grown players.

The 67-year-old, who spent five years at Stamford Bridge between 1969 and 1974 and made 145 league appearances, believes the Blues must do more to ensure there is a pathway for local talent to make the grade.

Chelsea are hardly alone among Premier League sides in struggling to help youth players transition to the first team owing to a saturated transfer market that often means British players play second fiddle to their foreign counterparts.

But the ex-midfielder insists the current climate that encourages clubs to prioritise signing players from abroad has to change.

“When you think going back to my day, I’m still the most local player they’ve ever had. I’m not really happy with the way Chelsea go about things,” Hudson told Ian Stone’s Comedy Breakfast (weekdays 6.30am-10.30am).

“They’re not the only club, it happens when I go to Stoke, they don’t produce any home-grown players now.

“They’d rather go and spend a fortune on someone from another country which I disagree with entirely.”

Much has been made, for example, about the way Ruben Loftus-Cheek’s progression has been stymied, despite impressing enough for Crystal Palace to earn a place at the World Cup and then starring in Chelsea’s Europa League campaign this term.

Indeed, it would be easy to roll off the names of the likes of Nathan Ake and Nathaniel Chalobah who have been sold in recent seasons as examples of the west Londoners’ misguided transfer policy.

But not since John Terry broke into the first team in 2000, later captaining the team for thirteen years before his departure in 2017, have the Blues had someone to call their ‘one of their own’.

Now there is hope that Loftus-Cheek, who scored a hat-trick against BATE Borisov a fortnight ago, can make an impression along with the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi where those before them have not.

And Hudson, who was born in Chelsea, agreed that the decline in the percentage of British players in England’s top flight is having an adverse effect on the national team.

“I agree with the whole nation when they say that it affects our national team, which it does,” Hudson added.

“We haven’t had a home-grown player around here. I’ve seen kids around here over the years and I played with a lot lesser players than what I’ve seen locally.

“And yet kids and young teams that play round here, there’s never any scouts about. I just don’t like it. You just can’t keep looking abroad for players.”

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