Josh McEachran was once touted as the future of English football. Now on loan at Wigan, he has been hailed as "magnificent" by his current boss.
Josh McEachran has been a familiar name to both Chelsea fans and neutrals for a considerable amount of time.
He was one of those boy-wonders, a star-in-waiting, his promise generating glowing headlines long before his first-team contributions did.
So what happened? Why, when the likes of Ross Barkley and Adnan Januzaj have shown that if you’re good enough you’re old enough, has McEachran failed to live up to the potential that once saw him held in higher regard than Jack Wilshere?
A series of loan moves have painted McEachran as something of a wanderer, but a spell at Middlesbrough seemed to prove he was not another overrated wannabe-wunderkind, as he became a regular starter for the Championship club.
And now he finds himself at Wigan Athletic – again on loan – and surely wondering if this is the make-or-break moment as he sees his parent-club spending big on the likes of Nemanja Matic.
Whether McEachran ultimately becomes a first-team regular at Stamford Bridge is not yet known. But if his current manager at the Latics Uwe Rosler is to be believed, he might still.
Speaking after Wigan’s late-show against Charlton Athletic last weekend, Rosler said, “We brought Josh on to help put Ben (Watson) forward a little more, whilst still being able to start the play from the back.
“Josh enabled us to do that, but it was also a chance for me to see where Josh is up to in terms of his fitness and I have to say he was magnificent when he got on the ball, moving it through the lines and creating the first goal.”
At just 20, McEachran still has time on his side. And it seems clear that he has talent in abundance.
Given the number of Chelsea players currently on loan, there is no reason that many cannot return to form the crux of the next great Blues side, with McEachran at its heart. But for now he just needs to keep doing what he does so well, and the rest will hopefully take care of itself.
image: © Tom Cuppens