Academy player Charlotte Fleming was ‘honoured’ to make her Chelsea Women debut in our 2-1 win against Lewes in the Continental Tyres Cup.
The 17-year-old, who was in central midfield alongside the vastly experienced duo of Maren Mjelde and Sophie Ingle, looked at home in Emma Hayes’s side. She was composed in possession, made the right decisions and certainly was not afraid to get stuck in against players older and more experienced than her.
‘I can’t put it into words,’ she said when asked about what it meant to make her first start for the Blues.
‘It’s what I’ve been hoping for as a young player, coming through the Chelsea development team and I’m just proud and honoured to put on that shirt and represent myself and my family.
‘Hopefully I get more starts, fingers crossed I’ve shown what I’m capable of. I’ve just got to work hard, keep putting in a shift and hopefully there’s many more to come.’
The young England Under-19 midfielder is currently juggling her college studies with football and is grabbing the opportunity with both hands, learning off the more senior players in the squad and trying to take in as much information as she possibly can.
‘I look up to everyone,’ she said.
‘There are some big characters, but the likes of Millie Bright, Carly Telford and Ramona Bachmann, they have all got a lot of experience under their belt – I have got to be a sponge and absorb everything to be the best player and person I can be.'
Starting against Championship side Lewes was the first step in Fleming’s promising senior career, and she attempted to explain the differences between academy and elite football.
‘It’s another level, you can’t describe it unless you’re playing in the game. It’s so different, it’s tougher and a lot more challenging, but I enjoyed it and I want to stay at this level now.
‘I am thankful for Emma and the rest of the coaching staff who have believed in me and are helping me to become a better player.’
Chelsea’s next game is at Kingsmeadow on Sunday 17 November against Manchester United in the WSL and it kicks off at 2pm. Three days later the Blues host Tottenham Hotspur in the Continental Tyres Cup, which has a kick-off of 7pm.