John Terry is perhaps the greatest product of the Chelsea youth development system.
After joining the Blues as a 14-year-old from West Ham in 1995, Terry never looked back and ended up graduating to the first team in 1998.
After spending some time finding himself which included a loan spell with Nottingham Forest in 2000, he found himself involved in the first-team plans from 2001 and the rest was history.
Terry remained a first-team regular for Chelsea for nearly 20-years
Terry was a first-team regular for the Blues from the 2000-01 season and that remained the case until the 2016/17 season which was his final with the club where he was more or less a squad rotation option.
Terry is regarded as being one of the best and most successful captains in the Premier League era. During his time at Stamford Bridge as a player, Chelsea won five Premier League titles, four FA Cups, three League Cups, the Champions League and Europa League.
He saw many players come and leave Chelsea. Some such as Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba turned out to become club legends whilst others such as Hernan Crespo and Fernando Torres came with heavy expectations before ultimately flopping.
Terry was one of the few successful youth products of Chelsea in the past generation
Terry was one of the very few successful youth products of the club in the modern era. After Roman Abramovich took ownership of the club in 2003, the club underwent massive structural changes in order to transform itself from Premier League also-rans into league giants.
As a result of this, many of the club’s youth players were deemed not good enough and were offloaded to make way for more high-profile players with the exception of Terry.
Asked about club youngsters who never reached their full potential, Terry said as quoted by The Star:
“Probably a boy called Rob Woollaston at Chelsea.
“He was like a midfielder/winger, had so much ability.
”He got chose to train with the first team at a really young age, 17 or 18, did really well and Gullit told him he was going to play in the first team in a cup game.
“He then phoned up on the day of the game and said he was sick.
“All of us, if we were sick or felt like we were at the end of the world, we would have still gone and played the game, we wouldn’t have given up that opportunity.
“He actually done it two or three times and he was just not mentally ready for the game, but ability-wise, incredible.”