By George Overhill

27th Mar, 2022 | 3:44pm

Chelsea: Harvey Vale next in line after Cobham academy underpins England win

Harvey Vale is at the head of the queue to be that latest English breakout from Chelsea’s Cobham academy, which underpinned England’s win over Switzerland.

The 18-year-old attacker has made five first team appearances in the two domestic cups for Thomas Tuchel this season, and has been on the bench three times each in the Premier League and Champions League respectively.

Fellow academy product, and England international Ruben Loftus-Cheek singled Vale out for praise after his appearance in the 3-2 FA Cup win at Luton (2 March), telling the club’s website, via The Chelsea Chronicle: “He did really well tonight, he held his own against some physical and strong players. He didn’t look out of place at all. Well done Harvey, I’m sure it felt natural to him. It looked very natural to him. Hopefully he can kick on now and get confidence from that.”

With the European Champions’ future still up in the air until the preferred bidder is selected to take the club off Roman Abramovich, they could be forced to turn to their much-vaunted youth set-up in much the same way they did when Frank Lampard brought Mason Mount, Reece James, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori up during the transfer ban.

In fact, one of Vale’s biggest obstacles to making a full breakthrough into the first-team squad is likely to be the return of on-loan midfielder Conor Gallagher.

Gareth Southgate’s Three Lions won 2-1 in last night’s (26 March) friendly at Wembley, with the Crystal Palace stand out highlighted as a star by The Times‘ Henry Winter.

The writer said: “England are benefiting from Chelsea’s academy, and the outstanding coaching under Neil Bath at Cobham. With Henderson anchoring a 3-5-2 system here, Gallagher and Mount, another Chelsea academy alumnus, pushed on, creating and pressing. Gallagher certainly impressed, responding instantly to the first whistle as if he were at Crystal Palace where he is doing so well on loan from Chelsea this season.”

Ex-Blue Marc Guehi, now a Palace teammate of Gallagher, also made his international debut, and if you want to be pedantic there is also former academy product Declan Rice to consider.

Vale, who has already featured for England age groups up to the under-19 level where he is captain, will have his eye on joining the aforementioned names.

He is making sure he gets noticed, helping the west London side’s struggling development squad to a much-needed win the day after replacing Romelu Lukaku in Tuchel’s first team at Middlesbrough.

He has big footsteps to follow, but on the current evidence he has the tools to meet the challenge.