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Thursday, December 3, 2020

Tino Anjorin: From Bournemouth to the Bridge

Familiarise yourself with highly-rated Poole prodigy, Tino Anjorin. The man who’s going to be Chelsea’s next big star…

Tino Anjorin is a bulldozing, box-to-box midfielder, equipped with the size and skill that inspired the Chelsea Under-23s to reach the FA Youth Cup final. At 18 years-old, the Poole native was the catalyst for The Blues’ impressive 2019/20 season, as he was both the top scorer and team captain. The sunny south has finally produced one of Britain’s brightest young stars. A feat that hasn’t happened in Dorset since Jamie Redknapp broke through at Bournemouth in 1991. Tino is a welcome sight for the football fans among us.

THE STORY SO FAR…

Anjorin showed natural footballing ability from a young age. Passed down from his father Sheriff, who was an academy prospect at Brighton. Tino’s raw talent put him on the books at AFC Bournemouth from the age of four. But it was a volley in a London-based tournament final that caught the attention of Chelsea scout Daniel Castle. And the rest is history…

Anjorin has been a member of Chelsea’s illustrious academy since the age of eight and he is certainly a product of his environment. After years of being trained by the best coaches, surrounded by top players, within first-class facilities, this 18-year-old looks to be the finished product. It’s a testament to the talent of Tino Anjorin that he was nominated for the 2020 Golden Boy award, despite only playing 42 minutes of first team football. His quality hasn’t gone unnoticed by the Chelsea hierarchy. In fact, the prodigy from Poole was justly rewarded, receiving the Under-18s captain’s armband; an honour that was once bestowed upon Chelsea legend John Terry.

READY FOR THE NEXT CHAPTER

Earlier this year, Anjorin extended his contract with the club until 2025. Some of Europe’s elite such as Manchester City, Manchester United, Borussia Dortmund and Arsenal – just to name a few – sought after the young prospect. However, Anjorin decided to re-sign with Chelsea without hesitation. This comes in response to Chelsea’s 2019/2020 campaign, where the impetus was on calling up homegrown players like Mount, Abraham, James, Hudson-Odoi and Tomori. Previously, the club would have loaned out their academy graduates or sold them on. But under Frank Lampard’s management, the club is heading in a new direction, instilling trust in their youngsters. Tino Anjorin has repaid Frank’s faith by putting pen to paper and signing his first professional contract.

Having already achieved a childhood dream by coming on as late substitute in a Premier League victory over Everton, Tino is itching for more. He’s ready to follow in the footsteps of his Class of ‘19 “brothers” and become a regular feature on the Chelsea team-sheet. He admits people tell him about his impatience, but this is out of desperation to just get out there. After winning everything there is to win at youth level, he’s confident about taking the next step. He cites Billy Gilmour as an inspiration and has said that watching Gilmour play gives him the confidence to do what he does.

Anjorin is already making strides reminiscent of a young Cristiano Ronaldo. The appointment of a personal trainer has been made for him to maintain his imposing figure. Putting himself in the best possible position is a priority for him, scoring and creating. So as to be a leader in the team in five years’ time.

Barring a move away from the club in January, Tino Anjorin is set to be the next youth product to compete for minutes against Chelsea’s high-profile new signings and established academy graduates. It is a compliment from Chelsea’s coaching staff that they expect him to break into a squad with £80 million man Kai Havertz and £35 million maestro Hachim Ziyech.

WHAT TO EXPECT

The Chelsea fanbase have likened Anjorin to Ruben Loftus-Cheek. An understandable comparison given his muscular frame. He stands at 6’1’’ and weighs 73kg. Where the two differ however, is Anjorin’s prolific goalscoring prowess. In 2018, the South Coast lad won the accolade of top scorer in the Under-18s European Championship. No mean feat considering the tournament featured the likes of Mason Greenwood and Bukayo Saka. He’s also been dominant in domestic competitions, scoring 16 goals in 33 appearances for the Under-18s. As well as 11 goals in 27 matches for the Under-23s.

And it just takes one glimpse of his highlight reel to appreciate his natural finishing ability. What catches the attention is the variety of goals he scores. Against the Brighton Under-23s, he received the ball from 30 yards out and immediately teed himself up with his first touch. Before unleashing a thunderous strike that rattled in off the bar. Then, in the London derby, Anjorin scored due to his off-ball movement. After making a late run into the box, Tino calmly converted the cut-back from Ian Maatsen. But his greatest strength is carrying the ball from deep and driving into the box. Here, he shows an air of calm as he is clinical with either foot.

The cliché “a man amongst boys” certainly applies to Tino. He has said himself that his build – powerful for his age – allows him to run through people and brush them off. He has a similar playing style to Yaya Touré, one of his favourite players growing up. Both are towering figures that drive forward with the ball. Shrugging opponents away in the meantime and possessing enough finesse to shimmy past players. Furthermore, Frank Lampard is an admirer of Anjorin’s game. He reserved particular praise for his preparation to receive the ball, his self-awareness, his power and his balance.

FINAL THOUGHTS

It’s only a matter of time until Tino Anjorin properly emerges on the scene. Especially with the departures of Ross Barkley and the aforementioned Ruben Loftus-Cheek. He will most likely receive first senior start in the FA Cup, at the dawn of the new year. Until then, remember the name — Tino Anjorin.

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Jamie Guerra
Jamie Guerra
Jamie is a Bournemouth-bred, sports media graduate from the University of Chichester, looking to fulfil his lifelong ambition of working in the sports journalism field. He is a passionate and competitive sportsman, who has played numerous sports from the age of five. However, he is now converting his passion for sport away from the field to focus on his writing, and hopes to produce intelligent and insightful sport stories to share with a wider audience.

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