​One of the biggest positives from Frank Lampard's time at Chelsea has been his willingness to utilise young players.

His hand may have been forced because of the transfer ban last summer, but it's clear that Lampard has faith in the Chelsea youth, with no less than eight former academy stars now shining in the first team.

Now, as fans of English football, we have a duty to get unnecessarily excited about homegrown talent, so let's rank all those youngsters by looking at who has the highest potential.

8. Fikayo Tomori

Fikayo Tomori

Somebody had to come in last on this list. This is by no means a slight on Fikayo Tomori, but more proof of the exciting potential on show at Stamford Bridge.

The 22-year-old centre-back has shown glimpses of real quality this season, but there have also been some question marks about his performances. Opponents have often got the better of him, but his impressive agility has helped him atone for his errors.

Tomori certainly looks set for a lengthy career at the top level, but superstardom might be a step too far.​

7. Mason Mount

Mason Mount

If Mason Mount can maintain his development, he will likely be an England regular for years to come, but there looks to be a few things which could stop him from cementing a permanent place in the starting lineup.

His eye for goal and impressive movement has won fans over at times this season, but an occasional lack of creativity has been a real problem. ​When ​Chelsea need someone to unlock a defence, Mount has not been the man for the job.

That's not to say he needs to be an elite creator - there's always going to be a place for a goalscoring midfielder - but those struggles look like they could hold him back.

6. Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham

Tammy Abraham is a goalscorer. When you're a striker, you don't really have to be anything other than that, but it would be nice to bring something else to the table.

His passing is fine, his aerial ability is acceptable and his hold-up play is decent, but if he wasn't such a good poacher, he might struggle for minutes. Abraham already has the key part of being a striker down to a T. 

At worst, he looks set to be reliable goalscorer for years to come. However, if he can add to his game, his potential could soar.

5. Billy Gilmour

Billy Gilmour

I know Billy Gilmour joined Chelsea as a 16-year-old, but he played in the academy and is now in the first team, so he counts.

The Scot may only be 18, but he already looks to have a great understanding of the game. He knows where he needs to be on the pitch and is always ready to receive the ball, but it's what he can do with it that makes him so exciting.

Gilmour brings fantastic vision to the game and he loves to set the tempo, which will always be useful.

4. Andreas Christensen

Andreas Christensen

Similar to Gilmour, Andreas Christensen ​made his switch to Chelsea as a 15-year-old, and after a few impressive years in the academy, he's now making a real impact on the senior side. For years now, big things have been expected of the Dane. He's already a top defender, but he could still grow to be so much more. 

He fits the modern game perfectly because of his passing ability, and he's comfortable kick-starting attacks from the back. He usually looks composed on the pitch, both when passing and defending, but a common criticism was his lack of physicality.

That's an area in which he has really improved this season. While he's likely never going to be a man-mountain, he looks capable of holding his own against most, which will only extend his time at the top.

3. Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Ruben Loftus-Cheek

Yes, ​Ruben Loftus-Cheek is 24 years old. Using the term 'potential' when describing him brings back embarrassing memories of a 25-year-old ​Harry Kane being nominated for the Young Player of the Year award, or fans trying to justify 27-year-old Jesse Lingard's future at ​Manchester United. But I don't care.

Few players on the planet can combine imposing physicality with outstanding agility, but that's what Loftus-Cheek is all about. He can bully any midfielder and embark on a 30-yard run to make things happen.

Loftus-Cheek is also comfortable in the final third. He's a competent finisher and a capable playmaker, but if he can improve in those areas, then he could become a real sensation.

2. Callum Hudson-Odoi

Callum Hudson-Odoi

An Achilles injury robbed us of months of Callum Hudson-Odoi highlights, but the hope is that he can make up for lost time. Before that injury, his potential looked utterly superb.

The winger always wants the ball at his feet, and he's ready to do something with it. One-on-one duels are as important as oxygen to him, and he's good enough to embarrass defenders already.

In terms of end product, he's fairly reliable in the final third, but you'd like to see his shots ask more questions of goalkeepers. If he can become a real goalscoring menace, he could achieve anything.

1. Reece James

Reece James

​Reece James is an 11-a-side team on his own. There's not a lot he can't do right now, and he's only 20.

As a right-back, he's powerful and defensively reliable, but that's only the beginning. James is an explosive runner with an outstanding eye for a cross, and he's already one of Chelsea's primary creators.

He's even played in midfield at times due to his passing and dribbling abilities, while his long shots are a highlight reel of their own. He can truly do it all, so fans have every right to be excited about his future at Stamford Bridge.

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