Chelsea boss Mauricio Pochettino has called up 14-year-old Charlie Holland to train with the senior team as the Blues get ready for their upcoming clash with Crystal Palace.
They travel to Selhurst Park on Monday night and have been helped in their preparations by a very talented young player.
Youth team captain Holland was spotted in first-team training jostling for position with Carney Chukwuemeka as a reward for his inspiring performances inside the Cobham academy. Age has never been a barrier for Pochettino, who has been tasked with nurturing a very young Chelsea squad this season.
That now includes Holland, who trained alongside the likes of Thiago Silva despite being 25 years younger than the Brazilian defender. However, it is not the first time that he has worked with the senior group, having also done so last season.
When Frank Lampard was in caretaker charge last May, Holland was a surprise inclusion in training ahead of their match with Nottingham Forest. He earned that call-up after captaining Chelsea’s Under-14s to victory at the Albert Phelan Cup South, thanks to a 5-0 win over Fulham in the final.
Holland’s efforts in that cup prompted the club’s senior decision-makers to promote him to the first team for a day of training. He must have made a positive impression to be called back to work with the first team once again, but this time under a new head coach.
It is unlikely that he will have any involvement at Crystal Palace but Holland is clearly a talent that Chelsea believe is in line for a very bright future. Typically Under-21s or Under-18s get promoted to the first team, especially if there are a large number of senior players unavailable, but instead Holland has been given that opportunity.