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Academy graduates in first team squad

Lewis Baker is a full-time member of Jose Mourinho’s first team squad for the season ahead.

The 19-year-old midfielder becomes the third young player to move up from the Academy’s development squads in 2014, following on from Nathan Ake and Andreas Christensen.

Baker’s progress at Chelsea began when he joined our Under-10s side and he rose through the age groups to become a regular in the youth team while still a schoolboy. He captained the Under-18s to the 2013 FA Youth Cup final having been part of the winning side the year before, and played a major part in the Under-19s reaching the European NextGen Series final.

Last season, Baker was named Chelsea’s Young Player of the Year after a campaign in which he made his debut as a substitute in an FA Cup win at Derby, and he was topscorer for the Under-21s as they won their national league, netting the decisive goal in a play-off at Old Trafford. He shared captaincy duties with Ake during the season and a back-heeled strike in an earlier Under-21 game at Arsenal was voted by Chelsea supporters the club’s Goal of the Season.

The two awards and the U21 league title came in the space of three memorable days in May.

Baker, who has the squad number 34, is a technically accomplished player who creates as well as scores goals and can fulfil a variety of midfield roles. He signed a new five-year contract last week having been part of Mourinho’s pre-season preparations away in Europe, during which the Luton-born player told ‘I’m doing okay at the moment but it’s important for me to keep listening and learning every day if I want to improve.’

Having been a regular for England Under-19s, Baker is currently away with the England Under-20 squad for the first time. They play tomorrow (Friday) and he has been named captain for the fixture. 

Christensen’s promotion to the squad followed a 2013/14 campaign in which he, like Baker, was one of the cornerstones of the Under-21s’ championship success and the Danish central defender was also in the side that won the FA Youth Cup in May.

The 18-year-old (pictured below right), who joined Chelsea in 2012, scored for Denmark Under-21s in a win last night. He is a regular at that level. 

Ake (above left) joined the Blues a year earlier in 2011 and won the FA Youth Cup in his first season here. The young Dutchman was elevated to the first team squad in January when Ryan Bertrand went on loan and as well as left-back, can play in central defence or in midfield, the position where he played on his maiden start in the first team, away at Middlesbrough in the FA Cup.

The 19-year-old, who was Chelsea Young Player of the Year 2013, has made seven appearances in total and is currently away with the Dutch Under-21 side. 

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