When then Chelsea manager José Mourinho claimed that if Dominic Solanke, Izzy Brown and Lewis Baker do not play for England, then we should blame him, that was a very big statement.
Four years on from that bold claim and their careers have perhaps not taken the route that the Portuguese manager had predicted.
Mourinho left The Blues almost three years ago, and all three players’ Chelsea careers have never taken off.
Dominic Solanke was sold to Liverpool in 2017, after he featured extensively as England under-20s won the World Cup. However, his Liverpool career has not got going yet. He is stuck behind Roberto Firmino and Daniel Sturridge in the pecking order at Anfield, and is struggling for game time, though did feature for the Three Lions back in November.
At this point in time, it does not appear that the 20-year-old is anywhere near playing for England again, as he is still struggling for his club.
On the other hand, both Lewis Baker and Izzy Brown have remained with Chelsea, despite being extensively loaned out to different clubs throughout Europe.
Both players are now at Leeds, and it has been a mixed bag from both of them. Baker has received a couple of starts for the Championship high flyers, but does not appear to be manager Marcelo Bielsa’s first choice option. The 23-year-old midfielder could expect more game time as the season progresses, and he can make an impression. But for now, Baker’s Leeds career hasn’t got going yet.
Baker’s previous loan spells have had varying success. The best spell was with Eredivisie outfit Vitesse, where he became a mainstay over two seasons.
Brown is yet to feature for Leeds this season, after arriving with days remaining in the Championship loan window. The 21-year-old joined with a preexisting injury that has prevented him from playing so far.
Unlike Baker, Brown’s loan spells were slightly less successful, however, he did feature in the Premier League last season for Brighton, which suggests that he is improving slowly. Five years after he made his only appearance for West Brom, becoming their youngest player in Premier League history, he still appears to be finding his feet. One appearance for Chelsea in all competitions, coming when Mourinho was in charge, shows that his career at Stamford Bridge never quite took off.
For the two Leeds men, they will be hoping for a great season in Yorkshire, in a good Championship side in order to earn their place in the Chelsea squad. However, they are vying to be part of one of the hardest teams in England for young talent to emerge through.
If this does appear to be the case for those two, they should take the example of Solanke in moving. Whilst the move hasn’t inspired anyone yet, it still appears to be a wise move.
All in all, despite Mourinho’s promising words regarding these three, they don’t look much closer to an England shirt than when he said it four years ago.