Chelsea

Lewis Hall provides another exciting nod to the future in Chelsea's FA Cup progression

Max Parsons
Lewis Hall was excellent against Chesterfield
Lewis Hall was excellent against Chesterfield / GLYN KIRK/GettyImages
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I'm not sure about you but, as a 17-year-old, I was playing FIFA, stressing about mock exams and continuously gearing myself up to watch the stars of the footballing world so many admire through a TV screen.

Lewis Hall, however, is no normal 17-year-old.

On Saturday evening, the teenager was making his senior debut for Chelsea as the Blues comfortably thrashed National League side Chesterfield 5-1 in the FA Cup.

In a surprisingly experienced lineup stacked with global names, Hall was the latest promising youngster to be given an opportunity under Thomas Tuchel.

We'd already seen the likes of Harvey Vale and Jude Soonsup-Bell endear themselves to Stamford Bridge with exciting performances that signal a prosperous future for the club. And Hall, starting alongside a plethora of first-team regulars, was the latest youth team talent to look right at home in a Blue shirt.

Naturally a central midfielder, the 17-year-old was given the unenviable task of handling some tricky opposition as the left-sided centre-back of a three-man defence. And, at his tender age, Hall displayed the maturity, quality and commitment that already confirms his potential.

Lewis Hall
Lewis Hall was brilliant for Chelsea on Saturday / Craig Mercer/MB Media/GettyImages

Undaunted by his defensive responsibility, the teenager was comfortably resolute and sharp to any danger that came his way. Whether facing up to a winger preparing to deliver a cross, chasing back on the cover to intercept one of Chesterfield's numerous long balls over the top, or reading the play exceptionally to prevent potential breakaways, Hall looked just as composed and competent as the vastly more experienced Andreas Christensen and the ever-increasingly utilised Malang Sarr alongside him at the back, despite being the visitors' obvious target.

Not only did the 17-year-old constantly recover possession in integral positions throughout proceedings, but his composure on the ball and natural ability to distribute possession overcame any panic he might have felt.

This trait was hugely noticeable throughout. Apart from the surging Mateo Kovacic in the first half and the driving Ruben Loftus-Cheek in the second, Hall was Chelsea's most progressive player.

From gorgeously neat little flicks in his defensive third to release the ball and cut two or three pressing opponents out of the game to dynamic darts forward, the 17-year-old was pivotal in releasing the occasional and not very overwhelming pressure for his side.

His standout moment came just before the 20-minute mark. Harrying Chesterfield's defence on the left wing, Hall showed brilliant tenacity to regain possession in the final third before providing the perfect cut back for Romelu Lukaku to sweep in the hosts' third goal of the evening.

While that glimmer of tangible quality will be the overarching memory from a fantastic debut, Hall's overall maturity, willingness to adapt and all-encompassing influence have announced the 17-year-old as yet another thrilling prospect on Chelsea's books.

An interesting footnote of the Blues' enjoyable third-round victory was Lewis Baker's second-half cameo. The 26-year-old came on as a substitute for his second Chelsea appearance a whole eight years after his first but, with Tuchel blooding through youngsters to alleviate the pressure of a heinously packed football schedule, the future for the Blues' youth looks far brighter.

Part of that future will certainly be Hall who, at 17, already looks the real deal.

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