After making his senior bow in the FA Cup, Lewis Hall reflected on the special achievement and revealed how the home supporters helped him fight off nerves to put in an impressive display…
It may not have produced the magic of the cup as true romantics would have wished for as underdogs Chesterfield were beaten 5-1 at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening but there was one story to warm the football soul as teenager Hall had a debut to remember for his boyhood club.
The 17-year-old was handed his first senior appearance by Thomas Tuchel for the visit of the non-league Spireites, deployed in a slightly unfamiliar left centre-back position, but a composed performance that belied his young years left supporters, pundits and his manager purring.
Hall had a hand in two of our four first-half goals, teeing up Romelu Lukaku to make it 3-0 after 20 minutes before a low shot was parried into the path of Andreas Christensen moments before the break, the Dane guiding a looping header into the far corner for our fourth.
With that, our place in the fourth round was essentially secured with half the contest remaining and Hall reflected afterwards on his personal achievement of climbing from the Under-8s at Cobham to the bright lights of the senior stage.
‘Ever since I was a kid here at Chelsea, this is what I’ve worked towards so to finally get the opportunity is an amazing feeling and to do it in front of my family and all the fans here at Stamford Bridge is just incredible,’ he said.
‘I found out I was starting during the day. We had a meeting where the manager announced the starting 11 and I was really nervous straight away.
'As soon as I saw my name on the team sheet, I was shaking and everything. I had to take a couple of hours to process it.’
Those nerves were quickly banished as a few neat early touches settled the youngster down and he claimed the support of the home fans helped him to quickly get into his stride.
‘Being at home, the fans gave me confidence in myself, especially towards the beginning of the game when I kept it simple and the fans recognised that’ he explained.
‘They were behind us all so that gave me the confidence to show what I could do.’
The Hall family have developed a certain affinity with the FA Cup in recent years as Lewis follows in the footsteps of his older brother Connor, who grabbed headlines last season for National League side Chorley by scoring in upsets against Wigan Athletic, Peterborough United and Derby County.
‘It’s good to get one over on him today,’ quipped Lewis when asked about his sibling’s past success before looking forward to what he hopes comes next.
‘Training with the first team for the last couple of weeks, I’ve been able to recognise the level and where I want to be,’ he added.
‘Each day I feel like I’m progressing playing with these top players and hopefully I can maybe get some more opportunities in the future.’