Interview

FA Youth Cup preview: Fully prepared

Chelsea Under-18s return to action in the FA Youth Cup on Wednesday 15 January at Aldershot, with tickets available at just £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. The tie is also live on the 5th Stand app, kick-off 7pm.

Armando Broja’s final, hat-trick sealing goal was arguably his best during our introductory round as he displayed great strength and a clinical finishing touch to ensure the match ball was his. The 18-year-old recalls the moment fondly as he looks back on our 4-0 win against Huddersfield.

‘It was an amazing feeling for myself to score three goals in my first FA Youth Cup match, and I was really happy to get the win and advance into the next round – but personally for me to score a hat-trick in the third round of the competition was a really great feeling,' he said.

‘Straight after the game, Henry [Lawrence] had the match ball by his feet and I shouted to him to kick it over to me. I picked it up, I got all the lads to sign it and I took it home. I’m really happy about that, it’s my first one.'

Broja’s three goals place him alongside Tammy Abraham and Dominic Solanke as FA Youth Cup hat-trick scorers against Huddersfield, but also among the likes of Callum Hudson-Odoi and Mason Mount to have notched in the competition. The forward recognises the achievement of scoring in the campaign and hopes for more success.

‘It feels great,' Broja continued. 'You can see how far all of those players have gone now. Tammy is doing really well for the first team, hopefully he continues. Marc Guehi has just gone on loan and Callum is in and around the first team so to be among those names in scoring for Chelsea in the Youth Cup is a really great feeling. Hopefully I can get many more goals in the competition and maybe even some more hat-tricks!’

The most goals scored by an individual in a single competition in recent history was 10 achieved by Solanke (2014/15) and Hudson-Odoi (2017/18) but Broja isn’t setting any targets and vows to keep focused throughout the rounds.

‘It’s good to set yourself targets so you have something to work towards, but for me I feel it’s just a case of keeping my head down, carry on working hard and hopefully the goals will come,' he added.

'Reaching or surpassing 10 goals would be nice but I’ve just got to stay focused on my game.’

This is Broja’s first taste of the Youth Cup and the forward admits he feels there are expectations to live up to playing for Chelsea in the competition.

‘It’s obviously the competition everyone wants to win,' the Albania Under-21 international continued. 'Chelsea have won it a lot of times, we’ve always been the main club in the competition so I feel that we’ve got to live up to the expectations.

''We’ve got to produce as players and as a team to stand a chance of doing well in this competition. With the squad we have, I feel like we have a very good chance of going all the way.’

Broja insists the squad are prepared with the right mentality ahead of this fourth-round tie against Bradford City, who earned their place in the this tie after defeating Stoke on penalties last month.

‘Every game is tough,’ he added. ‘We won’t take it easy and will set out to be focused, prepared and hopefully with that right mentality we will come out winners and advance to the next round. We will be fully prepared for the game.’
 

How to follow

You can support Ed Brand's boys at Aldershot on Wednesday night, with tickets available at £3 for adults and £1 for concessions. The game will also be screened live on this website and The 5th Stand App.

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