3 Youngsters Set to Break Through at Chelsea in 2014
We know Chelsea's first-team squad is brimming with talent, but what about the next generation of stars from the club's academy who are hopeful of becoming the next heroes of Stamford Bridge?
If recent competitions are anything to go by, the future certainly looks bright.
The Blues lifted the FA Youth Cup in 2012, and having reached the final of the NextGen Series the following season—losing to Aston Villa—it is clear that Jose Mourinho has a pool of talented players to consider for promotion up the ranks.
So who has what it takes to make the grade?
Bleacher Report runs the rule over three youngsters who are making a name for themselves in West London. They may be relative unknowns, but if their progress continues, 2014 could be the year we begin to learn far more about them.
Lewis Baker may have come to the attention of the wider football public this season when he made his Chelsea debut against Derby County in the FA Cup, but he has long been building a reputation as one of the club's most promising young stars.
The midfielder scored in the 2012 FA Youth Cup final as Chelsea defeated Blackburn Rovers 4-1 on aggregate to lift the trophy and has continued to prove adept in front of goal.
Baker is developing a knack for scoring from set pieces, too, often finding the back of the net from free-kicks and penalties. Indeed, as the YouTube clip above shows, he already looks like an accomplished talent from 12 yards out.
His ability has also been recognized by others outside of the Chelsea academy after Baker was named player of the tournament in the 2012-13 NextGen Series.
Chelsea reached the final that season, losing to Aston Villa.
Place of Birth: Luton, England
Signed from West Bromwich Albion last summer, Isaiah Brown—or "Izzy" to his teammates—has wasted little time in making an impression at Stamford Bridge.
With the Blues looking to implement a playing style from their development teams up to the first team, the 17-year-old operates in the same area where we regularly see the likes of Eden Hazard, Oscar and Willian.
He can play anywhere across that front three, in behind the striker and has the potential to be as crafty as his more senior teammates.
Unlike many of his youth colleagues, Brown has experience at the Premier League level, too. He made his debut for West Brom in May last year in a 3-2 defeat to Wigan Athletic.
Coming on for Youssouf Mulumbu in the 86th minute, Brown became the second-youngest player in Premier League history, making his debut at the age of 16 years and 117 days.
A couple of months prior to his debut, Brown had featured on the bench for the Baggies at Stamford Bridge when Chelsea ran out 1-0 winners on March 2, 2013.
Place of Birth: Peterborough, England
The Kiwomya name is well-known in football circles. If 17-year-old striker Alex Kiwomya has his way, it will become even more famous.
His dad, Andy, was a player with Dundee and Bradford City in the 1990s. Uncle Chris, also a striker, shot to fame when he joined Arsenal from Ipswich Town for £1.25 million. In 1995, that was a considerable fee for a rising star, as the ex-Tractor Boy was back then.
It's fair to say he never did replicate his form from his time with Ipswich that had persuaded Arsenal to snap him up, although things are looking much more positive for his young nephew.
A former national junior athletics champion at the 100-meter sprint, Kiwomya Jr. has electric pace. It's a key asset for any player in the modern game—as is scoring goals, which the Englishman has shown himself more than capable of.
He has appeared for England at the U17 and U21 levels, earning quite a reputation in the process.
Chelsea's problems with their front men have been very well-documented in recent times, but with the likes of Kiwomya coming through the ranks at Stamford Bridge, they may not need to be splashing the cash in their bid to find a goalscorer in years to come.
Place of Birth: Sheffield, England
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes.
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