Over the years, Chelsea have developed a reputation for being a heavy spender. That has not been helped by the club forking over €1 billion on transfers in the last year. However, this takes away the limelight from Chelsea’s youth academy, which has produced some world-class talent. John Terry, Declan Rice, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Mason Mount and Andreas Christensen have sharpened their skills at Cobham. Frankie Runham has just become the latest player in this trend after signing his first professional contract.
Having spent over a decade at the club, Runham is considered a star for the future. And with Chelsea not being able to perform at their best after signing so many players, the youth academy could come to their rescue.
Runham has spent all his football career at the Blues and, with the contract signing, has put his faith in the club in hopes of becoming the next big star from the famed youth academy.
So, who is Frankie Runham, and how good is he?
Who is Frankie Runham
Frankie RUnham was born on January 9, 2017, in Eastbourne, a coastal town. His love for football started when he was young, and his talent was so immense that he was granted admission into Chelsea’s youth academy at the age of eight. And he has stayed there ever since.
Runham would slowly progress through the ranks in the coming years. His first breakthrough came when he was called to the under-18 squad in the 2022-23 season. His first game in the UEFA Youth League was on October 10, 2022, against AC Milan. He would make four appearances and, in the last one of them, would score his maiden goal. It would make him the youngest-ever UEFA Youth League goalscorer for Chelsea.
A few weeks later, he would debut in the under-18 Premier League, providing two assists in 11 appearances. In total, the midfielder would play 16 games across various tournaments.
🔵🏴 Frankie Runham has signed his first professional contract with Chelsea.
The attacking midfielder has been in the academy for 10 years — highly thought of at Cobham. Another top talent produced at Chelsea. pic.twitter.com/OflQ8YKnhh
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 10, 2024
Frankie Runham stats
The teenager has played nine times for the Blues’ under-18 side this season, scoring one goal and providing two assists. His best performance came against West Bromwich Albion, where he scored one and set up another as Chelsea ran out 9-1 winners.
At the same time, he has been representing the under-17 side, delivering commendable performances like his brace against Crystal Palace. Runham is also a dead-ball specialist, and his free kicks are so well-placed that most goalkeepers find it hard to reach them.
However, when he is not taking brilliant free kicks, Runham tries to break the opposition’s rhythm by making quality runs into the box. His goal against West Brom was a perfect example of him getting himself in an unmarked position to head the ball past a hapless Louis Brady in the goal.
Frankie Runham style of play
The greatest quality that Runham possesses is his versatility. And the best example of it was Chelsea’s clash with Tottenham in the under-18 Premier League. The Blues found themselves 3-1 down before levelling the scores. However, they found themselves a man down when right-back Travis Akomeah was sent off.
Runham was asked to occupy his position, and not only did he help them not concede a goal, but he also delivered a fantastic corner, which Russell-Denny scored. Even in the last season, he played as a striker, left-winger, right-winger, right-back and central midfielder.
While he has only played at the wings this season, he still can put in a shift for the team in a new position if required. Runham’s deadball striking, combined with his vision, can help him become a world-class winger.
Big collective spirit to come back from 3-1 down and then win with ten men from #CFCU18 today. Everyone deserves credit but Frankie Runham dropping into RB after the red card and playing very well indeed for 35 mins needs a shoutout. Top.
— Chelsea Youth (@chelseayouth) October 21, 2023
Frankie Runham potential
After getting his first contract, Runham can be assured that Chelse have high hopes for him. While a senior-team call cup is still far away, Runhas has a great chance to rise through the ranks from the under-18s to the under-23s, allowing him to play against the best young talent in Premier League 2.
Runham also has motivation after watching the likes of Reece James, who were rewarded for their hard work with a call-up to the senior team. For now, though, Runham must focus on solidifying his palace in the starting lineup.
Chelsea have spent enormous money in the transfer market to compete at the highest level. Till now, though, their project has failed spectacularly. With such exorbitant spending, Chelsea could help themselves by promoting homegrown talent, which would save them money and help them find the right balance as they recover from the slumber they have fallen into.