He’s just 21 years old and has over 100 league appearances under his belt; Jack Cork has been very busy over the last few years improving his game. Having been loaned to Burnley again this season, Cork’s future at Chelsea FC is in the balance.
Cork joined Chelsea at the tender age of nine and since then he has worked his way up through the ranks. He has also played a key role in the England youth set up. Cork captained the Under 19 squad through to the 2008 European Championships and has since been called up several times for the Under 21’s.
To have over 100 league appearances at the age of 21 shows that Cork is serious about his football. He hasn’t minded going out on loan to numerous clubs, he’s gained experienced and it’s helped his game. He’s played for Bournemouth, Scunthorpe, Watford, Coventry and Burnley, where he’s currently on loan. Burnley manager Brian Laws was delighted to have him back at Turf Moor. “We know he’s a good quality player,” Laws told the Burnley website, “he’s hungry and had a great experience with us last season.”
Cork has reached the age in which he will soon need to make a difficult choice. At the end of last season Jack’s dad was quoted saying that Jack wanted to leave Chelsea and was willing to move down the leagues. Rumours then spread that Chelsea were looking at offers of around £2 million pounds for the young talent. After all this gossip many people were surprised when Cork re-joined Burnley on a season long loan.
Cork will eventually need to make a decision if it’s not made for him. Having played at Chelsea since the age of nine Cork will have a lot of loyalty to a club which he’s been brought up at. In saying this Cork needs to be realistic, the Premier League is home to talented players and he needs to decide if he can play football in the top flight. Cork clearly has enough talent to play in the Championship but it’s questionable whether he can maintain a first team place in a Premier League team. Chelsea may choose to cash in on the player sooner rather than later, it depends how much they value his talent and whether they see a future for him with Chelsea.
The best example of a player who made it at Chelsea after the youth set up is John Terry. He worked hard as Cork has and is now captaining Chelsea to success. The only problem is that for every John Terry there are numerous young players that work hard and get released or transferred for little money. Whether in the Premier League or the Championship Cork has a future in football and not many 21 year olds can say that.