Chelsea have announced the pre-season fixtures for their Under-21 and Under-18 teams.
The Chelsea academy has come off the back of a successful season, with the Under-21's winning the Premier League, and the Under-18's winning the FA Youth Cup. Despite a failure to incorporate any youth player since John Terry's debut in 1998, many consider this current crop of youngsters to be one of the finest in the country.
Players of the calibre of Lewis Baker, John Swift, Charly Musonda and Andreas Christensen are crossing across both teams, impressing at age groups ahead of their own. Baker and Swift featured for the first team in 2014, playing in the FA Cup and Premier League respectively, whilst Christensen and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who has been tracked by Barcelona, played in a post-season friendly with Manchester City in 2013.
Both teams will start their pre-season preparations on July 12, with the Under-21's away at Sutton United, and the Under-18's challenging Bournemouth at the Blues Cobham training base, according to the official Chelsea website.
The Under-21's also face Aldershot Town, who, as part of a partnership with Chelsea, host a number of reserve games, before games with Crawley, Brighton and Derby County.
The Under-18's play recently returned to the Football League Luton Town, fellow Premier League side Swansea, Brighton, before embarking on a youth tournament at Cobham, in which they challenge Arsenal, Spurs, Manchester United and Aston Villa.
Both youth teams have also been invited to face Red Ball Salzburg in Austria, although acceptance has yet to be confirmed.
It promises to be an exciting season for those involved in the youth programs at Chelsea, as a select number of youngsters plan to embed themselves in the first team. Whether they can do it remains to be seen, but there is no denying that the talent in the youth teams is evident for all to see.