Chelsea have made it to the 2021 UEFA Champions League final. With a 3-1 aggregate against one of the best clubs in the world, Real Madrid, Chelsea has returned to the hallowed halls of the European Cup final for the first time in over nine years.
While it is easy to look towards the veterans like centre-back Thiago Silva and captain César Azpilicueta, the real reason Chelsea has made it to where they are this season is because of their youthful core.
When the season started it was hard to see Chelsea making much of a splash in Europe. Chelsea legend Frank Lampard was just starting his second season, new additions Timo Werner and Kai Havertz had not lived up to their potential, and "Captain America" Christian Pulisic had not found his form that he became famous for at the end at 2020.
Yet, the arrival of Thomas Tuchel in late January turned everything around. While Tuchel did not have to rely on the academy like Lampard, he did have to rely on the youthful core.
Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech and Christian Pulisic are the youthful core that has helped the club to a FA Cup final, Champions League final, and a likely top-four finish in the English Premier League.
That "core" has been involved in creating 70 goals this season and has proven that they can put Chelsea's best against anyone else's and continue to succeed. World class football is being played, much to the credit of the youthful core, but also to that of the of the manager.
While many supporters have seen Werner as a disappointment, the fact remains that he has been involved in the most goal scoring opportunities this season. Additionally, he is continuing to develop at the highest level of football the world has to offer. The centre-forward needs time and based on his age, Chelsea will be willing to give him that time to develop.
Mount has proved himself not just as a world-class player, in fact, he has easily been the best player on Chelsea's squad this season, but he has proved himself a leader. The Englishman has started as captain as well as taken over the duties in multiple matches. That's quite the honour as a 22-year-old, but it shows what the club thinks of the player and the role he plays.
As for the rest of the youthful core, consistency will be the key to future success. Pulisic and Havertz are already becoming world-class players, but they will continue to get better as each season passes. That's an idea that has the rest of the English Premier League on terrified of what Chelsea has to offer come the next few seasons.
None of this has even mentioned Ben Chilwell, Reece James and any of the other numerous academy prospects that have made it onto the pitch as a member of the first team. Incredible.
Youth and talent are on Chelsea's side and the entire squad is eager to prove they aren't just a mismatched and patchwork squad put together with the hope of winning trophies.
With youth comes another: Chelsea's core will remain together for seasons to come. If this squad can make a Champions and FA Cup final, what can they do with additional development? Werner needs adjustment, Pulisic needs some consistency, Havertz needs a full season and Mason Mount is the best player on the squad. The sky is the limit and that might be putting it lightly.
Regardless of how the seasonal trophy's play out, Chelsea supporters should be excited for what the future holds. This season's Champions League final is just the beginning. Chelsea's core will back next season along with the addition of key playmakers in the transfer season. The west London club has a lot to look forward to as they were forced to build a core around their youth and the journey is about to pay off.