As a nineteen year old, breaking into the first team of a Premier League side is a task fraught with challenges. Breaking into a Premier League team which is challenging for major domestic and European honours, is even harder. Throw into the mix a team which is comprised of multi-million pound superstars, and you have the impressive feat which Josh McEachran has achieved in his short time at Chelsea.
McEachran is deployed mainly as a central or attacking midfielder. He thrives when he has but a few feet of space to control the ball, and either take on the defender or lay on a pass for a team mate. However, such is the strength in depth at Chelsea, the opportunity to play in his favoured attacking role were few and far between at Stamford Bridge. It is for this reason that then Chelsea manager, Villas-Boas, allowed McEachran to join Swansea City on loan for the remainder of the season.
Since the switch, McEachran has only featured five times for the Swans, but that isn’t to say he is not one to watch for the future. He already has eight England Under21 caps to his name, and captained the national side at Under16 level. In the games that he has played this season, though, McEachran has impressed.
The young Chelsea midfielder has an abundance of technical ability; his playing style has been compared to the likes of Samir Nasri and Luka Modric. In this sense, he is in a similar class to another exciting English talent, Jack Wilshere, in that they are not the typical box-to-box England midfielder. McEachran does not embark upon lustrous runs into the channels, but instead plays cute one-twos and short, snappy passes as a means of progressing up the pitch. A product of the Chelsea academy, it is evident to see that English coaches are attempting to blood youngsters into the Barcelona style of football.
McEachran’s diminutive physique ensures that he will never contain much of a psychical presence. However, this is actually an underrated attribute in the modern game. McEachran often draws opposition players into fouling him, and when in those tiny pockets of space, players afford him that extra split second on the ball for fear of getting booked or sent off.
So, whilst McEachran is still many years from his peak, he has already illustrated glimpses of the magic we can expect to see in years to come. If he is to continue to work with former Chelsea coach Brendan Rogers in Wales, it would be a safe man’s bet to put money on McEachran playing a major role for Chelsea and England in the future.