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McEachran making swift progress at Chelsea

Published: Saturday 4 December 2010, 11.55CET
A UEFA European Under-17 Championship winner in May, Joshua McEachran has now graduated to the U21s and become part of a Chelsea FC squad bidding for domestic and European glory. features

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Published: Saturday 4 December 2010, 11.55CET

McEachran making swift progress at Chelsea

A UEFA European Under-17 Championship winner in May, Joshua McEachran has now graduated to the U21s and become part of a Chelsea FC squad bidding for domestic and European glory.

Name: Joshua McEachran
Club: Chelsea FC
Debut: 15 September 2010 v MŠK Žilina (UEFA Champions League)
Position: Midfield
Nationality: English
Date of birth: 1 March 1993

Ask who are the most promising young English players on the scene and there is a fair chance the name of Chelsea's Joshua McEachran will be mentioned sooner or later.

The fact he is talked about beyond Stamford Bridge is testament to the 17-year-old's rapid rise to prominence in 2010. A creative central midfielder who can also play on the left, McEachran began what has been a remarkable few months by helping Chelsea to FA Youth Cup success in May.

Later that month, McEachran – who has been with the London club since he was eight – was in the England team that came from behind to defeat Spain 2-1 in the UEFA European Under-17 Championship final in Vaduz, Liechtenstein. They were watched from the stands by the soon-to-be FIFA World Cup winners.

McEachran's Chelsea debut duly followed this season when he came on as a substitute during the Blues' 4-1 victory over Žilina on UEFA Champions League Matchday 1. In doing so, he became the first player born after the competition's inception in 1992 to appear in it.

The Oxford native's ascent continued with his England U19 bow, before, with barely 140 minutes of action under his belt at that level, he was elevated to the U21 squad – featuring as a late replacement during a friendly loss in Germany last month.

Breakthrough game
Chelsea FC 2-1 MŠK Žilina
23 November 2010, UEFA Champions League

A week after his U21 outing, McEachran made his first start in Chelsea blue as Carlo Ancelotti's side wrapped up Group F with a game to spare. Appropriately it came against the team he had made his debut against two months before.

Comfortable in possession and displaying the vision vital for any aspiring midfielder, McEachran's qualities shone through on a night when he completed 105 of 122 attempted passes – more than anybody else on the field. With the Londoners safely through, McEachran's education is sure to continue on Matchday 6 away to Olympique de Marseille.

He says:
"I do want to score more goals. Chelsea say to me: 'Look at Frank Lampard.' I need to get in the box more and score more and that will help me as a player, so I will try that more this season."

"Being with [the Chelsea senior squad] every day now, I feel more part of the group. John Terry always speaks to me and says 'keep going, you are doing really well', but all of them do speak to me. I am quite a quiet boy but on the pitch I think I am quite confident and know what I am doing."

They say:
"He can play every game because he showed his quality. He was good defensively, he won a lot of tackles, and obviously with the ball he's fantastic. He can play it short or long without a problem."
Carlo Ancelotti on McEachran's display against Žilina last month

"He's a good boy, he works hard and he has great technique. He's been training with us since the beginning of the season and has shown that he has the ability to play with us."
Salomon Kalou, Chelsea forward

Last updated: 04/01/11 0.43CET

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