Josh McEachran: Cut adrift in the Chelsea loan group

McEachran left Chelsea in 2015

McEachran left Chelsea in 2015

MIDFIELDER Josh McEachran has revealed what life is like in the Chelsea loan group, with players training separately from the first team as they await their fate.

The Blues currently have 32 players out on loan and have leant to 87 clubs in five seasons. McEachran went on five loans in three years before finally leaving for Brentford in July 2015.

Things had looked so promising in the 2010/11 season when he made his first-team debut and a total of 17 appearances under Carlo Ancelotti, but went downhill after that.

McEachran remembered: “When you go back at Chelsea it’s the first team, the reserves and this loan group. If you get put in the loan group you’re just waiting to go out really.

“On the first day of pre-season it’s not a great start. When Mourinho was there (during his second spell as manager from 2013 to 2015) I walked in, thinking I’m going to have a pre-season with the first team.

"I went to walk into the first-team dressing room and the kit man said, ‘Josh, sorry mate, haven’t you heard? You’re down the corridor in the loan group,’ and I was like, ‘oh, cheers’.

“After that I took a pay cut to go to Brentford just to get my career back on track and enjoy myself again.”

Chelsea’s loan manager is Eddie Newton, with two other former players, Paulo Ferreira and Tore Andre Flo, working as ‘loan player technical coaches’.

Ferreira and Flo are tasked with travelling to see the players at their loan clubs, although TGG understands this usually only happens every two or three months for each individual.

McEachran was appearing on BBC Radio 5 Live and presenter Jermain Jenas could barely believe what he was hearing. "That’s mad," he said. "You’d just walk in and go, 'I’m not wanted'. What does that do for your confidence?"

Chelsea have farmed hundreds of loanees out over the last decade, although some players question whether this is necessarily a good thing. In 2016, Lucas Piazon, who was sent out on loan five times, said: "It makes no sense to go on loan all the time.

"It is not good for any player in my experience — or the experience of the other boys. I don't see it as a positive thing any more. To be in a different place every year is not good for me at 22.

"It's difficult to get a place in the team. They have their own players. You do your best, try to get a place in the squad, minutes on the pitch, score and create goals. That's all you can do."

And Jonathan Panzo, who joined Monaco earlier this summer, said: “I wanted to settle down somewhere instead of going back and forth, back and forth.

“I thought settling down somewhere would be better for me as a young player, to get comfortable there and do my thing. I just had to be a bit strong and confident in my abilities to expose myself to the world.

"Young players like me, or a bit older than me, are not getting the best opportunities to show themselves and expose themselves to the world.

“From what it looks like, it’s good for a certain amount of time. Maybe loan to two clubs and hopefully get your opportunity in the first-team — but it’s harder than that. You’ve got to work harder.”

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