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Burnley FC blog: Players like Cork have to make it
THE problem with young footballers today, we’re told, is attitude.
Some say that if they work hard enough, even at the top clubs, they will get their chance. And then we look at Jack Cork.
On-loan Burnley midfielder Cork is 21 and at the last count had made 132 senior appearances. Not one of them for his parent club Chelsea.
A talented passer with eight caps for England under 21s, he appears the perfect example of how to give yourself the best possible chance of making it at the top.
If Cork is part of the Baby Bentley culture, he hides it well. Speak to him and you’ll find no sense of importance or entitlement, but a friendly and down to earth lad.
In his second loan period at Turf Moor, Clarets fans love him. So did most at Bournemouth, Scunthorpe, Southampton, Watford and Coventry, where he also had temporary spells.
He still has 18 months on his contract at Stamford Bridge, yet the sad truth is he has virtually no chance of making it at Chelsea – despite proving himself more than capable of playing in the Premier League with Burnley last season.
The last English players to make it to the first team at Chelsea were John Terry and, to a lesser extent, Carlton Cole. That was a decade ago, in the pre-Abramovich era.
Michael Mancienne was regarded as a top prospect but did not make it.
The worrying question for the English game is would Terry make it at Chelsea now, and what effect would a move away have had on his development?
Cork may now have to cut his ties with the Blues and work his way back up, but it is a route lined with hazards that the likes of Terry, Steven Gerrard and Ashley Cole never had to face.
We must hope Cork emerges to play for his country one day.
It will be a sad indictment on the English game if he does not.