Charlton Athletic manager Johnnie Jackson reckons Mason Burstow transfer to Chelsea underlines the “mad” way that football can work.
The 18-year-old striker signed for the Blues on transfer deadline day but has been loaned back to the League One club for the remainder of the season.
The terms of the deal were undisclosed but the South London Press understands that Burstow signed a three-and-a-half-year contract with Chelsea.
There were also two bids from Brentford for the young frontman but only Chelsea came up with the sum that Charlton owner Thomas Sandgaard was looking for.
Burstow only made his senior debut in August – scoring with his first touch in the EFL Trophy against Crawley Town – and signed his first professional deal in July 2021.
Asked if his progression had been a surprise, Jackson told the South London Press: “Yeah, it’s definitely a surprise how quickly he has gone from not even being with the club, then signing professional less than 18 months ago and now he is the books of one of the biggest clubs in the world.
“When you look at it like that it is unbelievable how quickly it has all happened.
“Just his progression at our club has happened a lot quicker than any of us thought – from coming over and training with us, having a little taste in the Papa John’s [Trophy] and cup football – to then getting a taste of it in the league. Perhaps if Jayden [Stockley] hadn’t been injured, Conor [Washington] being out at times and before Chuks [Aneke] arrived then perhaps those opportunities wouldn’t have come his way. And then the interest perhaps wouldn’t have come his way.
“It’s mad how football can work. To be fair to the lad, when he has been given opportunities he has grabbed it. And then someone that young, with the profile he has got and scope to improve – along with scoring goals – are going to attract attention, aren’t they?
“Things can escalate so quickly.
“If he hadn’t done so well in the Papa John’s and FA Cup games then I’d have been reluctant to use him in the league. So that is credit to him as well – because he did seize those opportunities. I saw enough in those games to think I could trust him in league football as well.”
Burstow replaced Aneke in the 69th minute of Charlton’s 3-2 win over AFC Wimbledon on Saturday.
Although the overwhelming reaction was positive, there was also at least an audible reaction which suggested some of the fanbase were unhappy the youngster had opted to sign for the reigning European champions.
“I didn’t hear any of that,” said Jackson. “Mason is a great kid. He has been thrust into the limelight. It’s all happened really quickly for him. A life-changing opportunity for the boy.
“He’s a lovely lad. All he wants to do is play football. He’s humble and he works hard. There is no ego about him at all.
“I have no doubt at all that, when called upon, he’ll be giving absolutely everything. That’s just the way the lad is. I’ve got no worries about him at all.”
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