The latest edition of Chelsea features an exclusive interview with birthday boy Andreas Christensen, as well as paying tribute to Ray Wilkins, our former captain and assistant coach who sadly passed away at the age of 61 last week.
The young Dane, who turns 22 today, discusses his early memories of playing the game, when he was given the task of getting the better of his father, Sten, a former professional himself, who was brought by Brondby to replace Peter Schmeichel when he joined Manchester United.
‘There was quite a lot of space where we lived, so we’d get a bit of fence and build it a little higher at one point to make it like a goal,’ Christensen tells the magazine. ‘Then, he would go in goal and I would just shoot, so we spent some time together doing what we both love – football. When I was younger, he probably let the ball go in, but he was good.
‘He stopped playing when they had me. As soon as I was born, he retired because I think he wanted to be there with the family. So I’ve heard stories and seen pictures, but I’ve never actually seen him play at a high level, I’ve only seen him play old-boys’ games and stuff like that.’
Christensen also speaks about making the move from his homeland to a completely new country at such a young age.
‘I was thinking I had to leave my family and friends, but apart from that I was thinking I still just have to play football,’ he explains.
‘I had an injury when I first came to Chelsea and I was here for two weeks and I tried to live in digs to see how it was. I just remember thinking it wasn’t bad and I could live like that. You got food served, they washed your clothes and stuff, so it was quite easy – it was fun.
‘I was living with Jacob Maddox, Kevin Wright, Jesse Starkey and Miro Muheim – five boys, all in one house, and it was fun. We had the top floor of the house just to ourselves, with a TV room and sofas and stuff. We spent a lot of time up there, and I just remember thinking: "This could be good.’”
After impressing, and getting his first taste of Champions League football, during a two-year loan spell with German side Borussia Monchengladbach, Christensen returned to Stamford Bridge last summer with the intention of forcing his way into Antonio Conte’s plans and he has featured regularly, making 33 starts at the time of writing.
‘I’ve heard people from the outside say I went out on loan as a kid and I’ve come back as a first-team player, and I think that was the main objective,’ he says.
‘I’ve come back a little bit stronger in everything, both in terms of personality and the way I play. I think I’ve come back a little bit cleverer because I always think about what could happen next on the pitch, what could go wrong. I’ve come back a bit wiser and more experienced.'
Jody Morris came through the ranks at Stamford Bridge before going on to make 173 appearances for his boyhood club, and in the latest edition of Chelsea he looks back on his playing career with the Blues.
Our former midfielder - and current Under-18s manager – recalls the late-night eating habits of room-mate Gianluca Vialli, becoming our youngest Premier League debutant and the sense of pride he felt after being handed the captain’s armband.
Midfielder Drew Spence has been an integral part of Chelsea Ladies’ team this season as they chase glory on three fronts and having just signed a new contract at the club she joined in 2008, she speaks exclusively to the magazine and looks back on her journey so far.
Spence recalls a career ‘turning point’ during a trip to Japan, discusses the benefits of being versatile and, as one of the more senior members of the squad, highlights the importance of helping some of the younger players.
As well as all of that, the magazine pays tribute to Tommy Docherty ahead of his 90th birthday later this month by examining the legacy he created during his time in charge at Stamford Bridge, as well as recalling the triumphant 1970/71 European Cup Winners’ Cup campaign, while Daishawn Redan is the subject of this month’s Academy interview.
You can also find all of the usual features, as well as the latest news from the Academy, Chelsea Ladies and the Chelsea Foundation.
The latest edition of Chelsea, priced £3.25, is available now in all good newsagents and the Megastore.