He’s barely old enough to shave, and he’d have broken the law if he’d celebrated with a beer after the game, but Lewis Hall – given his debut for Chelsea in the FA Cup 3rd Round against Chesterfield – made a dazzling first appearance in the senior team. Tom Tuchel, Blues manager, did his best
He’s barely old enough to shave, and he’d have broken the law if he’d celebrated with a beer after the game, but Lewis Hall – given his debut for Chelsea in the FA Cup 3rd Round against Chesterfield – made a dazzling first appearance in the senior team.
Tom Tuchel, Blues manager, did his best to downplay excitement after the thoroughly professional 5-1 victory at the Bridge, but there was no disguising his pleasure at the 17-year-old’s successful outing.
A left-sided defender/midfielder has suddenly appeared from the junior ranks just as Ben Chilwell has been ruled out for the rest of the season through injury. Hallelujah for Chelsea’s active and productive academy!
At 17 years and 122 days, he overtook Ethan Ampadu as the Blues’ record youngest FA Cup starting debutant… and will be catapulted into contention for the first team in this Covid, African tournament and injury-hit season.
All that was missing from the teenager was a goal as Chelsea dismantled their non-league opponents in the first half then (reshuffled to allow all five subs to be used) sat back a little in the second.
But he came close, placing himself in the right positions to capitalise on potential rebounds and half-chances.
Timo Werner scored a tap-in for the first goal after five minutes, Callum Hudson-Odoi notched the second with a superb curler after 18, and Hall put the ball through for Romelu Lukaku to add a third on 20. It was 4-0 at the break, thanks to an Andreas Christensen follow-up looping header.
As subs streamed on, Hakim Ziyech converted a pen earned by Christian Pulisic, before the 6,000 raucous, partying Spirites fans had their moment to savour – a goal for Akwasi Asante, chasing up a Kabongo Tshimanga shot which had been parried by the otherwise excellent keeper Marcus Bettinelli who, like Hall, was making his debut.
Though the young shaver Hall suffered a bout of cramp towards the end of the game, he soldiered on, winning the admiration of the manager.
“It was his performance in general, his attitude in training and the quality he showed,” said Tuchel when asked what had impressed him. “He was very calm and he deserved to start. We needed a pause for Toni and Azpi and Marcos in defence. We had three defenders left and he was one of them.”
Next up: Plymouth Argyle visit the Bridge in the 4th Round, in the first week of February.