Former Chelsea defender warns of the pressures on the Blues' crop of young, emerging talent

Monday, February 17th, 2020 5:12pm

By Will Cracknell @WillCrackers

Former Chelsea defender Tony Dorigo has hailed the importance of Chelsea’s current crop of academy graduates breaking into the first team together but warned of the pressures of expecting them to produce immediate results.

Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, and Callum Hudson-Odoi have impressed this season for the Blues, who currently sit fourth in the Premier League.

But Frank Lampard’s side have only collected six points from their last five league games and having sold talisman Eden Hazard to Real Madrid last summer, former Chelsea defender Tony Dorigo warned of the pressure on young players when asked to succeed more experienced stars.

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Speaking on Breakfast Weekend on Love Sport Radio, Dorigo spoke of the difficulties of replacing European Cup winners in his early years at Aston Villa. 

“You're so excited to get into that first team. You don't want to let anyone down or make any mistakes,” Dorigo explained.

“The pressure is suddenly very different. When I made my debut for Aston Villa the great old Villa side which won the European Cup was breaking apart and youngsters needed to come in.

“We found that very tough - suddenly you're trying to fill the holes of players that had won the European Cup for goodness sake.

“It was always going to be very difficult. As a team, I think over one or two years we struggled.”

However, Dorigo – who made 146 appearances for the Blues between 1987 and 1991 – highlighted the benefits of Chelsea’s young players progressing to the first team at the same time.

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“You've got people there who know what it feels like and understand what you're going through.

“You can feed off them - if they're doing well and you know that you're as good as them then you think ‘well why can't I do well’?

“I think that's what's happened with England - there's no doubt with Gareth Southgate selecting young players, it really helps to be able to turn around and see another youngster from the u-21s.

“Even if you go back to my time - my goodness, we sold Eric Cantona to Manchester United and they had a good bunch of youngsters which worked rather well! So I think coming through together is pretty important.”

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