Our series looking at the upbringing of our Academy youngsters continues with a focus on a young defender...

Alfie Gilchrist started his scholarship back in the summer and has recently signed his first professional contract at the club. The 17-year-old talks about his footballing career before Chelsea, his interest in judo and lists a Premier League tournament win last season as a career highlight so far...

What’s your first memory of playing football?

It was a community training session on a Saturday morning when I was five years old. At the time, I was playing with the older kids and just loved running around.

Where did your football journey start?

My first club was Old Isleworthians, which is where I first found my love for football. Shortly after joining, there was interest from a few London clubs and at the time I felt it was right for me to sign for QPR. I enjoyed my time there but left for a bigger challenge and joined Chelsea shortly afterwards.

Did you have any idols while growing up?

John Terry was my idol simply because he was the captain of the team I supported. I loved the way he led the team and put his body on the line!

Were you involved in any other sport before full-time football?

As a youngster, I was interested in judo. It was something I did alongside football and I really enjoyed it, although I haven’t done any judo for a while now.

Have you ever played in any other positions?

When I first started playing football I was an attacking player. I played right-wing and central midfield. However, when I joined Chelsea they saw me as a centre-back and when I first played there I loved it. Playing in different positions has allowed me to understand all areas on the pitch.

What is your first memory of watching?

My first memory of watching football is from when I used to watch my dad play on Sunday mornings. Another is from when he first took me to Stamford Bridge to watch Chelsea play live.

What memories from your career stand out?

One memory that stands out in my career so far is from last year, winning the Under-16 Premier League Tournament. Another is from when I signed my scholarship at Chelsea earlier this year.

Favourite holiday destination?

My favourite holiday destinations have all been going on overseas tours with Chelsea! I’ve been lucky enough over the years and travelled to some very beautiful places but my favourite was San Pellegrino in Italy.

Favourite TV show as a youngster?

I loved The Simpsons and it's still a very good show now.

Gilchrist signed his first professional contract at Chelsea last month following a string of impressive performances for the Under-18s while still in his first season with the youth team. He has played five times for the young Blues so far this season.