One of England U17’s 2017 World Cup Winners, 19-year-old Marc Guehi is progressing quickly and looks to be another promising youngster coming through Chelsea’s academy.
He is currently captain of Chelsea’s U23 side, and has made an impressive start to the campaign, featuring in the first six of Chelsea’s games, as well as their EFL Trophy game against Swindon.
Guehi featured 32 times for Chelsea’s youth teams in the 2018/19 season, including playing a key role in the sides run to the Uefa Youth Champions League Final, where they were eventually defeated by Porto. Exposure to first team football was also afforded through four games in the EFL Trophy as Chelsea U23s made it to the Last 16. Only missing two games last season for the U23s in the PL2, he was a key defender in their campaign and was rewarded with a place on Chelsea’s bench for the final Premier League game of last season, and as a result he will be looking to kick on this season, pressing for first team action under Frank Lampard.
He has already made his England U21 debut against Turkey in September, standing out in a back three alongside Ben Godfrey and Trevah Chalobah. Opportunities in the first team will continue to pop up as the young centre-half started in Chelsea’s 7-1 hammering over Grimsby.
Style of Play:
Standing at 1.82 metres in height, Guehi is a right footed, ball playing centre half. Comfortable playing out from the back, he is also physically dominant for his age at youth team level, whilst also possessing a turn of pace, making him an exciting prospect as a modern centre back.
This was evident in his two games for England U21s over the international break against Kosovo and Turkey. Completing 53 of 54 passes against Turkey and 90 of 93 against Kosovo, he played on the right side of the back three, supplying a fundamental link to the RWB and Tom Davies in central midfield. (Shown by heat maps below). He would often bring the ball out from defence, knowing there was cover available, and was very comfortable in a side dominating possession, something key if he is to break into Chelsea’s first team set up.
The shape of England’s back three is shown below against Turkey, and he was often given this time and space on the ball below, showcasing his ability to pick out passes to those up the pitch. He doesn’t look to force his passes, always happy to take a safer option, and this will only help his development and potential to step up to the first team, as it minimises the potential for errors on the ball.
He takes calculated gambles when trying to win the ball back defensively. This was displayed in the games against Turkey and Kosovo by playing in the back three, and against Turkey, in particular, he was able to contribute with two interceptions, as well as winning the ball back on five occasions. However, against Kosovo, there were occasions where the youngster’s tendency to drift forward left England exposed at the back, especially with the two full backs left so high, and was helped by the pace of others around him. An improvement in his concentration and the decision making regarding when he should press forward will be needed. This should come with time and with more exposure to first team action.
He also offers a threat in the opposition’s box, scoring three last season, including one against AFC Wimbledon in the EFL Trophy, and has already scored against Manchester City’s U23s this season.
Another one of Chelsea’s talented youngsters, expect his time to shine in the first team to come in the coming years. Although often the case with Chelsea’s youngsters that a loan move is the first step, Lampard’s willingness to test youth players out will play into his hands. With the transfer ban running out in the Summer, a loan move may become an option then.
A move to Vitesse, similar to that of Mason Mount and Jake Clarke-Salter before him, could be best suited to his development, or he could follow in the footsteps of Tomori, and look to gain experience in the Championship.
He is definitely one to keep a keen eye on, and expect to see him progress both for Chelsea and England U21s in the coming months.