Samuel Iling-Junior rejected Chelsea at 16 and signed for Juventus, where he is knocking on the first team door


IN recent years Chelsea’s incredible academy has been a conveyor belt producing a string of stunning talents but Samuel Iling-Junior rejected Chelsea at 16.

But the Blues haven’t been able to keep many – with the likes of Fikayo Tomori, Tammy Abraham, Marc Guehi, and Jamal Musiala showing them what could have been as they’ve impressed after leaving the club.

Another name to add to that list is Samuel Iling-Junior, now 19, and highly-rated at Juventus.

At 16, the England U19 international snubbed a professional contract with the West London side – believing his development was best suited elsewhere.

Serie A giants Juve immediately swooped, and he’s currently knocking on the door of Massimiliano Allegri’s first team.

Iling-Junior’s formative years were spent in Cobham.

From 2011 to 2020, he developed into a fine left-footed winger that courted the attention of several European sides.

However, after seeing Musiala leave for pastures new, he was inspired to think about his own future.

Bayern Munich, who snapped up his former team mate, as well as PSG were linked with Iling-Junior.

It was Juve, though, who stole a march on their rivals. His association with Chelsea was over.

“Full of vast emotions, being at Chelsea from such a young age has truly built me, not only as the player I am today but also as a person,” Iling-Junior wrote in a emotional farewell post on social media.

“It’s been a blessed journey and I’m deeply thankful for all those in the Academy. From the groundsmen, kitchen staff, players, coaches, the list goes on. I would also like to give thanks to the people around me, my family and friends who have consistently supported me.

“This is just the start.”

When Iling-Junior arrived in Turin, he set about making changes to his approach.

First thing he did was hire a teacher for Italian lessons, so he could get a better grasp of the language.

Then, when he visited pals in London, he didn’t skimp on his training.

Instead, he organised private training sessions with a trainer to maintain his fitness.

His former youth coach Andrea Bonatti wowed at his dribbling ability and pushed Iling-Junior further forward.

Before, where he was often deployed as a left winger or left wing-back, now his versatility has got him noticed.

In youth football he’s been used as a No10, or on the opposite flank.

There is a belief the exciting talent could play as a false nine in a more central position because of a rocket of a shot.

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