In Focus: England success shines spotlight on Chelsea starlet Vale
Harvey Vale has just captained England to glory at the European Under-19 Championship — but what lies in store for the Chelsea youngster this season?
The 18-year-old ace made his first-team debut last term and is one of the most highly-rated academy graduates at Stamford Bridge.
Ahead of the upcoming campaign, we take a look at how 2022-23 could pan out for the hot prospect.
Ready for action
Vale's recent exploits suggest he is ready to take the next step in his development.
A string of fine preformances skippering his country at the U-19 Euros eventually culminated in him setting up Aston Villa's Carney Chukwuemeka for what proved to be the decisive goal in the final.
Showing great poise and vision, Vale's lofted ball split the Israeli defence and allowed his team-mate the easiest of chested finishes.
The versatile midfielder also made five substitute appearances for Chelsea's first team under Thomas Tuchel in 2021-22, racking up 134 minutes of action across three FA Cup and two Carabao Cup fixtures.
Leading by example
Vale displayed plenty of leadership qualities in that aforementioned victory over Israel.
As well as coming up with the match-winning assist, he instilled belief in his side after they were taken into extra-time following a 1-1 draw after 90 minutes.
Speaking after the game, he said: "We definitely didn't make it easy for ourselves, especially in that first half.
"[But] we never stopped believing. The togetherness in this group — all 21 players, all the staff, play a part in that.
"We never hide away from the fact we know we can win games, no matter the scoreline.
"I feel that's really got us to this point and that's what has won us this tournament."
Joining the loan army?
Vale has yet to taste regular senior football and may well join Chelsea's famous loan army to aid his development.
The attacking midfielder could follow a similar path to Mason Mount, who spent a year at Vitesse Arnhem in the Eredivisie and then another season with Derby in the Championship.
It was only after those stints away from the capital that Chelsea's No19 was truly able to establish himself at Stamford Bridge.
But whether at home or abroad, the London native will not be short of offers after his eye-catching senior cameos and performances at youth level.
Alternatively, Vale may be hoping his exploits for England convince Tuchel to fast track him into the first team.
Having already made a handful of substitute appearances, the teenager could be integrated in a similar fashion to Phil Foden at Manchester City.
Foden, 22, did not leave on loan but was instead carefully developed under the watchful eye of Pep Guardiola.
In a season of uncertainty and change for Chelsea under their new owners, it could be that Vale is afforded an opportunity to impress.
Any decision regarding Vale's future will be predicated on the midfielder signing a contract extension, however.
His current deal expires in the summer of 2023 and the Blues will be keen to tie their promising talent down to a fresh long-term agreement.
It appears likely the teenager will extend his stay at Stamford Bridge, as senior players have reportedly encouraged him to put pen to paper.
That will be good news for Chelsea and England.