Emma Hayes praised both Charlotte Wardlaw and Emily Murphy after they made their senior debuts for Chelsea Women in a 5-1 victory over London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in the Continental League Cup on Wednesday evening.
Sixteen-year-old Wardlaw (pictured top) was handed her first start in Wednesday evening's Continental Tyres Cup match, occupying the right-back position while Murphy, who is also aged 16, came on for her first appearance for the Blues, replacing Erin Cuthbert on the hour mark.
Both youngsters did not look out of place and both played their part in the comfortable win which saw Drew Spence, Cuthbert, Deanna Cooper, and Bethany England with a brace, all get on the scoresheet at Kingsmeadow to book us a place in the quarter-finals of the competition.
Read: Chelsea 5-1 Tottenham match report
Five academy graduates have made a match day squad this season and Hayes believes Wardlaw and Murphy, after their performances against Spurs, have all the attributes to become established players at this level.
She said: ‘What a great debut for both of them Charlotte Wardlaw and Emily Murphy], both 16.
‘Charlotte produced the performance that I can see in her. She’s got the athleticism for this level, she’s a wonderful decision maker and she executed everything we asked of her.
‘Emily has got a swagger about her, she’s got a great character, I like that. You’ve got to have a bit of personality to play in that position. I thought she caused [Ashleigh] Neville some problems when she came on.
‘If they are good enough then they will play and I’ve always said that,' Hayes said when asked about the talent coming through the Academy. 'This is the first time that we’re producing players of this quality that I hope will grow with us.'
While Hayes was delighted with the debuts of the two youngsters, the Blues boss singled out the performance of a more experienced figure in the team and that was captain Magda Eriksson who skippered the team to their eighth straight win in all competitions.
‘You are not going to find anyone better than this person, she is growing week in week out and not just in her leadership but her ability as a centre-back.
‘She’s still young and she’s driving this team to new heights. I am super happy for Magda and the team because they were excellent.’
The Chelsea manager rotated her squad and made six changes from our 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Sunday and said: ‘We are in a good place, you know we have to stay so present with that because all of a sudden one result can change things, but we’re training well and players are performing well.
‘To score five goals in the second half in the manner we did shows we can go up another level.’
The Blues are next in action on Sunday when we travel to the Midlands to take on Birmingham City. The match kicks off at 2.45pm and is being shown live on BT Sport.
Our next home game takes place on Sunday 8 December against Manchester City. Tickets are expected to sell fast, so make sure you do not miss out!