PL2 preview: Adjusting to settle
news Fri 2 Feb 2018
The Foxes are in Aldershot this evening as our development squad host Leicester City in Premier League 2, live on Chelsea TV.
Joe Edwards’s side are looking to bounce back from a narrow defeat at Everton on Monday against the side currently second in Division One. Following the contest, five of our remaining six league outings are away so the Blues will be keen to maximise home advantage as they seek to move further away from danger. The bottom two in the top tier face relegation, though Edwards’s side can move eight points clear with a victory tonight.
Despite the age parameters of PL2 set at ‘Under-23’, our side is predominantly filled with teenagers and our attack has been led in recent weeks by a striker who celebrates his 17th birthday today, Daishawn Redan.
The forward from Amsterdam made the switch to London last summer and has understandably taken time to settle. However, he now feels at home and his elevation to the development squad has been the reward for a speedy transition, aided by his childhood friend from Ajax and now Chelsea teammate Juan Castillo.
‘In the beginning, everything was new for me – new language, new house, new country, new people,’ he tells the official Chelsea website. ‘It was different than in Holland and a little bit difficult to settle in. The physical work and intensity of training was tough. I didn’t play a lot because I needed to adjust but now I feel comfortable.
‘Having Juan here helped me, of course. We have known each other since we were eight at Ajax and played together for a long time. He came to Chelsea the year before and now he lives three minutes away from me so that has been really good for me.’
Redan is one of only three youngsters to have featured in every development competition this term, from Under-18, Under-19 through to PL2 and the Checkatrade Trophy. He cites the physicality and willingness to win in England as the noticeable differences to Dutch football.
‘I’ve played in all the competitions and it is much harder compared to Holland, where all the teams want to play football all the time on the floor,’ he continues. ‘In England, it is different and everything is about winning the game. In the Checkatrade Trophy, we can play against 29-year-olds who are big defenders so you can’t win every header and you have to deal with different things.
‘You need to be smart. If I can’t use my speed to get in behind the defenders then I need to think about sometimes receiving the ball into my feet. I want to work on my personality as well, to become more of a leader, so I look and learn from my teammates like Ethan Ampadu and Ruben Sammut to improve this.’
Leicester make the trip to Aldershot in fine form, unbeaten in the league since September. The EBB Stadium was this week confirmed as home to our development teams for the 2018/19 season and Redan knows it will play host to another tough contest tonight.
‘When we played away in September, I wasn’t involved but I watched on Chelsea TV and saw that it was a tough game. They are a big team, very physical and we were beaten 2-0 so we know we have to be at our best to win but if you play teams like this every week, it is a great chance to improve and become better players.
‘There are a lot more games here in England because in Holland the games were on Saturdays only. Now we can play on Tuesday then Saturday then Tuesday again so there is usually two games in one week, which helps us as well.’
Chelsea versus Leicester City in PL2 kicks off at Aldershot this evening at 7.05pm. Supporters can purchase tickets on the door priced at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. The game will be screened live on Chelsea TV, while there will also be updates on our official @chelseafc Twitter.