Reece James became Chelsea’s youngest ever Champions League goalscorer when he netted the equaliser against Ajax in the breathtaking 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge.
At just 19, he is just one of a number of fine young prospects at the club, with Fikayo Tomori, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and top goalscorer Tammy Abraham all enjoying breakthrough seasons under Frank Lampard.
Though not a first team regular yet, it may not be long before he’s one of the key crown jewels in Chelsea’s crown – with one record already under his belt. So we here at 90min have delved into the archives and dug out the names of the previous young talent that James has bettered on the European stage.
It’s fair to say, this list of seven youngest goal getters has some pretty heavy hitters…
Joe Cole (23 years, 150 days)
Spending seven years at Stamford Bridge, where he arguably spent the best times of his career, Joe Cole scored 40 goals for Chelsea and provided 42 assists.
One of his best moments in a Chelsea shirt was netting against Bayern Munich in a 4-2 win, helping the Blues beat the Bundesliga giants 6-5 on aggregate and sending them through to the
Champions League semi-final in 2005.
Tammy Abraham (22 years, 0 days)
On his birthday, Chelsea’s current number one striker netted the first goal in their 2-1 win over Lille in the 2019/20 group stages, helping the Blues bounce back after defeat against Valencia.
Assisted by fellow youngster Fikayo Tomori, Abraham controlled the ball and fired home with his stronger right foot, further reinforcing why Lampard has so much faith in his young players.
Kurt Zouma (21 years, 28 days)
Kurt Zouma first emerged on the Chelsea scene back in 2014, before heading out on loan to further enhance his footballing education. He’s now back in the fold and a first team regular, but his contributions started from a young age.
Aged just 21, he netted against Maccabi Tel Aviv back in 2015, rising highest at a set piece to power home a header en-route to a comprehensive 4-0 win.
Daniel Sturridge (21 years, 14 days)
There may be some people who forget that Daniel Sturridge even played for Chelsea. But he did, and he was actually rather good.
Way back in 2010, when Sturridge was a fresh faced youngster, he netted the equaliser against MSK Zilina, squeezing the ball past Martin Dubravka (yes, he of Newcastle fame) before Florent Malouda netted the winner.
His most impressive years would follow at Liverpool, with injury and inconsistency dogging his time at Stamford Bridge.
Oscar (21 years, 10 days)
Shortly after turning 21, flamboyant Brazilian midfielder Oscar netted not once, but twice against Juventus during Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League campaign.
However, the second goal will be the one that remains in the Chelsea fans’ memories. The attacking midfielder turned away from Leonardo Bonucci and Andrea Pirlo, before beautifully curling the ball into the top right corner of the net.
It was the perfect way to announce himself on the European stage and helped the Blues claim a valuable 2-2 draw on the night.
Arjen Robben (20 years, 284 days)
Flying Dutchman Arjen Robben is now the second youngest Chelsea player to have scored in a Champions League fixture, when he netted his first ever goal for the Blues against CSKA Moscow in the group stages.
Playing under José Mourinho, it was the first time he had started both Robben and Damien Duff and the tactic paid off handsomely. After being fed by a clever back heeled flick from the Irishman, Robben fired home with his arrow-like left foot in only his fourth appearance for the club.
Reece James (19 years, 332 days)
Following a superb loan spell at Championship outfit Wigan last season, the 2019/20 campaign looks like it could be a breakthrough year at Chelsea for Reece James.
And if his performance as a second half substitute against Ajax is anything to go by, he’s going to be a real star of the future. 4-1 down and struggling, the Blues needed to hit back – and they did so in style, admittedly with some help from their nine-man Dutch friends.
Having pulled the score back to 4-3, James would be the man to create Chelsea history and draw them level – firing low and hard into the bottom corner past a helpless Andre Onana to crown one of the greatest European comebacks ever seen at Stamford Bridge.