The two sides face each other in the FA Cup tonight with the winners set to take on Manchester United in the quarter finals. The game could lead to split loyalties for 19-year-old midfielder Josh McEachran.
Chelsea face Middlesbrough tonight in the FA Cup with the winners going on to face Manchester United in the FA Cup Quarter Finals. While Boro will be the underdogs for the game at the Riverside Stadium there will undoubtedly be a whiff of cup upset in the air considering the current form of their Premier League rivals; not to mention this week’s reports of infighting at the London club.
Middlesbrough do not come into the game in great form themselves. One win in their last eight Championship games has seen them slip out of the play-off places ahead of Wednesday nights action.
One player who has seen his own form drop recently has been Josh McEachran; of course on loan at Boro from Chelsea.
He started the season extremely well for the Teesside club; often playing from the right hand side and cutting in onto his stronger left foot his technical ability and range of passing was earning him many plaudits.
However the congested fixture list of the Football League seems to have unfortunately taken something of a toll on the young body of the 19-year-old and manager Tony Mowbray will be giving the England under-21 starlet an extended break from first team action for the rest of the season:
"Josh has played his part for us this season. In the Championship games come around every few days and it’s a big ask for him. He has done fabulously well but there are times when it’s looked like catching up with him. I have talked about giving him a physical break and a mental break. In the second half of the season he won’t be a stick-on in the team."
Not that it would matter ahead of the FA Cup tie as McEachran would not be allowed to feature against his parent club under the terms of his loan-agreement and that has given Mowbray the chance to give McEachran a break from the team as he previously stated. McEachran himself confirmed on his Twitter account that he had returned to his hometown of Oxford for a few days and is enjoying a little time away from the game; which is wonderful man-management from his Scottish gaffer.
It will make interesting viewing however for the teenager as his parent club face the team he has been out into battle with on 30 occasions this season.
However you just feel a little part of him will edge toward his boyhood club over the team that have given him a fantastic opportunity this season.
Do you think McEachran could return to Chelsea next season? Or is another loan deal necessary?
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