Josh McEachran has signed on loan for Middlesbrough today and though Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo described his career as having ‘stalled a bit,’ he is still a massive talent with time to blossom.
Born to Scottish parents (mitts off Craig Levein!), McEachran was snapped up from a youth team in his hometown of Oxford at the tender age of 8. A left-footed youngster he can play either left side central midfield- a fact that’s surely not gone unnoticed by England’s coaching staff despite his lack of progress.
Having starred as his nation won the European U17 Championships in 2010, McEachran seemingly bypassed the Under 19s – making his U21 debut as a substitute against Germany in Febrauary.
McEachran them made his first-team debut last September for his side’s away Champions League tie with MSK Zilina. His 79th minute substitute appearance made him the first player born after it was rebranded in 1992 to feature in the competition.
It was his performance against Newcastle in the Carling Cup that season that really got Chelsea fans’ heads turning. Despite the 4-3 home defeat, the performance of McEachran was a real shining light for the Stamford Bridge crowd.
Despite his tender years – and easily being able to masquerade as an Under 12 squad player – Chelsea fans were stunned by the starlet’s composure, level-headedness, decision-making, confidence and ability.
But not only does he have a great first-touch and an ability to play a pass through the eye of a needle, the youngster has a footballing brain to boot – gaining him plaudits from the very top of the game.
Both Sir Trevor Brooking and Jamie Redknapp sung his praises in the press, whilst then-manager Ancelotti said after that game: “He is very young but he showed fantastic ability and quality. If we need him he is ready to play the Premier League and the Champions League.”
Having been likened to Chelsea stalwart Lampard, the young midfielder admits his aim is to emulate the former West Ham man. “Chelsea say to me ‘look at Frank Lampard’. I need to get into the box more,” he told the club’s website.
McEachran’s captain and the last player to break through the Chelsea ranks, John Terry, also said that the youngster has “amazing ability and can open defences with a pass.”
It was high praise for such a young man, therefore it seems a shame that he hasn’t been able to kick on, Although he has had the misfortune of being at the club during a topsy-turvy time with 3 different managers coming and going, he has only managed to make 20 appearances for The Blues, mainly as substitute. Last season saw him loaned to Swansea, which was seen as the perfect place for him to develop more of his skills. Unfortunately the spell didn’t quite have the desired effect and he made only 5 appearances.
Regardless, if he can gain some experience from a loan spell at ‘Boro under the freewheeling football of Tony Mowbray, there is not telling what a quality player he could go on to be for his parent club and (hopefully) country.
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