Chelsea have picked five players with just one first-team appearance between them as part of their Champions League squad, in order to comply with Uefa regulation.
Champions League rules state that clubs must name at least eight home-grown players in their squad 25-man squad. The Blues have complied by selecting youngsters Mitchell Beeney, Jeremie Boga, Andreas Christensen, Kurt Zouma and Lewis Baker as potential participants in their European adventure.
Of those five players only Baker has previously made a first-team appearance for Chelsea - a 3 minute cameo as a substitute in a third round FA Cup tie at Derby County.
Nathan Ake, the centre-back with just seven appearances to his name, is also present in Jose Mourinho's group.
Champions League clubs must submit a 25-man squad to Uefa, with eight “locally trained” (home-grown) players. At least four of these must be “club trained” (registered with the club for three full seasons between the ages of 15 or 21) while the others can be “association trained” (registered to a club within the same association for full three seasons between the same age bracket).
Chelsea have just two recognised first team players eligible as "club trained" - John Terry and Nathan Ake. A further two first-teamers; Cesc Fabregas and Gary Cahill, count as “association trained”, meaning Chelsea’s quota has been fleshed out by Jeremie Boga, Lewis Baker, Andreas Christensen and Mitchell Beeney.
Zouma has not been with the London club long enough to qualify as “club trained”.
If Chelsea progress past a group containing Schalke, Maribor and Sporting Lisbon, they will be permitted to register three new players into their squad, but must continue to comply with the “locally-trained” rule.
Of course, barring an injury crisis or comfortable six goal lead at halftime to Maribor, Boga, Baker and Beeney are unlikely to see much game time in this season’s competition. Chelsea can continue to play their expensively purchased stars, and leave their youngsters to do little more than make up the numbers.
The only more senior players to have missed out include Mark Schwarzer (who last season played in both of Chelsea’s Champions League semi-finals) and Marco van Ginkel who was sent to AC Milan on loan as he was not eligible as a "locally trained" player.
A multitude of youngsters have appeared in Chelsea’s Champions League squad list in recent years including Billy Clifford (now at Walsall), Adam Coombes (Notts County), Conor Clifford (Southend United) and Kaby (Gaz Metan Medias who last season finished 13th in the Romanian Liga I). None of them ever made a first-team appearance for Chelsea.