For many young players coming through at Chelsea, taking in a first loan spell is a vital part of their football education.
Taking that step from youth football into the senior game highlights what is needed to succeed as a professional footballer and carve out a career in the game.
Fighting for points, walking into a new dressing room and, often, living away from home and independently for the first time is all part of the experience of leaving the comfort of Cobham and moving on loan.
Conor Gallagher is one of many rising talents at Chelsea that has taken that first step, starting the first half of the campaign at Charlton before moving to their Championship rivals Swansea in January.
As part of a new series on our official app, The 5th Stand, we were granted exclusive access to follow Conor’s path from Cobham to the Liberty Stadium, via the Valley.
Conor talks us through the emotions of moving to a new city, a new team and how he had to prove himself all over again. Something he did with blistering effect at Charlton, however.
‘The first day I had to go to Charlton, it was a little daunting going on loan because it’s not what I’m used to,’ Conor recalls. ‘I have been used to driving into Cobham every day for so many years.
‘Walking into the dressing room there, it was loud! There was a lot of people I didn’t know but you soon settle in and hearing the crowd chanting when you’re in the tunnel is so exciting.
‘I soon settled straight in and was made to feel really welcome by everyone at Charlton I think we were only a couple of games in when I first heard the fans chanting my name.
‘That was such an amazing feeling and when I scored my first goal, it was just amazing. It was the best feeling I’ve had in my career and I had my parents and my brother at the game.
‘When it went in, they started crying! It’s a feeling you just can’t describe, it’s incredible and it gives you the appetite for more.’
You can watch the full film with our current Academy Player of the Year on The 5th Stand app now, in what is the first episode of our Life on Loan feature.
Download our official app for more great content like this, including exclusive chats with Frank Lampard each week and indulge on all of our boxsets in the Watch section.
Plus, you can watch live press conferences and matches including tonight’s FA Youth Cup clash with Wolves.