Chelsea technical director Michael Emenalo defended his team’s controversial loan system after they were accused of “warehousing” players.
The Premier League champions have an incredible 33 players out on loan, including five at Eredivisie club Vitesse.
Emenalo believes other clubs will eventually start following in Chelsea’s footsteps, saying teenagers were not ready for first-team action.
“The loan programme is one that I can predict confidently that others will follow suit and start doing the same,” he told Chelsea TV.
“There is a gap in the players who have come through and been developed by the academy up to the age of 18 and 19 who now needs to step up into the first team.
“But we are not talking about any first-team, this is Chelsea Football Club first-team – which means you are going to have to win games to win titles.
“You are going to play in games that mean something. There is no room for errors. This is a huge demand for young players.
“You cannot expect 18 and 19-year-olds to come in and be ready.”
Professional Footballers’ Association chief Gordon Taylor had accused Chelsea of “warehousing” players.
Emenalo said the FA was happy with Chelsea’s system.
“We have had conversations with the English FA and we know that they are very happy for us to have some of these young players go abroad and get some of these experiences that which they are not available in Championship or Premier League teams,” he said.