A talent from the young division in Chelsea
, Michael Mancienne
, is poised to make his first Premier League start for the Stamford Bridge institution in their vital fixture against Aston Villa after Guus Hiddink oversaw his first training sessions at Cobham.
In fact, injuries to Portuguese Carvalho and Alex, as well as a suspension for Ashley Cole, see Hiddink faced with something of a defensive crisis in his first week in charge after replacing Luiz Felipe Scolari.
Mancienne, notionally a central defender, filled in manfully at right back during Chelsea’s FA Cup victory over Watford last weekend that Hiddink watched from the stands with owner Roman Abramovich.
Indeed, Hiddink, a meticulous coach, has reviewed the weekend’s opposition, who sit above Chelsea in the Premier League table, and is concerned by the need to counter the pace of Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor.
It seemMancienne’s speed is seen as a greater asset than his inexperience is a concern.
The popular Hiddink has already watched a youth side encounter and is believed to have been impressed with Mancienne in the training sessions he has conducted at Cobham this week.
"It is amazing for me having the experience of seeing the second side as well and seeing if we first see a amazing performances of the side and second if they're some young footballers who might be very interesting for the future," expressed Hiddink after watching the youth side put six past Portsmouth.
"I think that even if you are a big team, and even if the first side is settled you must always create some space for youngsters, they are always promising and that is why we always have to keep an eye on them."
We must consider that Mancienne, who was called in to the experienced Fabio Capello’s England squad for the friendly victory against Germany in Berlin last year, though remained and unused substitute, was paired with John Terry in an open training session.
The England captain has been immediately impressed with Hiddink and is relishing the opportunity to reignite a difficult season for Chelsea.
“He’s made a few changes and in training he got us to press more and play higher up the pitch,” expressed John Terry.
“I must admit, it looked sharp, with everyone fighting for their places again.”
Chelsea’s defensive record this season stands up against most of their nearest rivals and in despite of that, the last few weeks has seen an alarming dip in form with even stalwarts like Terry and Cech coming in for criticism.
As we said, Mancienne, who has spent impressive spells with Wolves in recent seasons, may well prove to be the beneficiary of that and Hiddink’s fresh start at the team.
We should review the new generation at Stamford Bridge:
Miroslav Stoch - Gave a glimpse of his quality against Stoke City and has become increasingly involved with first-team squad
- particularly noted for his pace.
Michael Mancienne - Came to prominence when he was called up to Fabio Capello's England squad and played against Watford in Chelsea's FA Cup victory.
Franco Di Santo - Argentina Under-20 international who impressed during pre-season and has made several first-team appearances.
Scott Sinclair - Made Chelsea league debut in 2007, and in despite of that, is currently on loan with Birmingham until the end of the season.
Frank Nouble – This talented player has been with Chelsea since an under-12 and has been capped by England under-17s.
Jeffrey Bruma - Centre-back from Holland, who plays for the Dutch under-17s and has trained with the first-team.
Jack Cork - The son of Alan Cork has steadily won admirers while on loan with Bournemouth, Scunthorpe, Southampton and Watford, and in despite of that, is increasingly making his mark for the England under-21s.
Jacob Mellis - Signed in the summer of 2007 and a member of the England under-19 division.