Former Chelsea youth captain and England U18s captain. He was part of the U17 squad that won the World Cup in 2017 and was on the bench for Chelsea’s Europa League final win. The box-to-box midfielder is an all-rounder and has shone in Bowyer’s midfield this season.
At Chelsea, Gallagher didn’t gain the attention from fans and the media like some other young players they have. But, worked his way through the academy and deserved this chance to prove himself in the Championship before the chance to play for Chelsea, similar to Mason Mount.
In today’s FLW Six Pointer, we take a closer look at how Charlton could retain Gallagher’s services…
What’s Gallagher’s impact been for Charlton?
“Gallagher has been a key player for Charlton so far. Bowyer himself admitted that the move was a risk because of his lack of experience in men’s football. Gallagher’s CV playing at youth levels is excellent but it’s difficult to know how he’d adapt to his first taste of senior football. Obviously, he’s adapted really well and is excelling.
“Playing youth football for top academies and winning youth international tournaments is great but can be hard to predict how well that can translate into potential sometimes. Speaking to coaches before, they’ve told me how different it is between U23 Premier League and League 2 for example. Some players can come on loan to lower sides and think they’ll excel but in actuality struggle with the pace and physicality of the game.
“But the transition hasn’t been a problem for Gallagher, who is hardworking and eager to learn according to Bowyer. He’s scored 4 goals, assisted another and just impressed overall.”
Should Charlton be trying to keep him?
“At this point, absolutely. He’s been key for them and shown that he can be a great performer at this level. It’s important that he can continue this early form of course but with shining praise from Bowyer I’m sure that Charlton are keen on keeping him around past this summer.
“Charlton fans have enjoyed his performances too and would be keen to hold onto him. As a club that prides itself on producing youth such as Ademola Lookman and Joe Gomez, maybe this time they’ll be able to steal someone else’s young players instead.
“At 19 he is such a promising player that can go on to have a great career and become an England international. Charlton dream of returning to the Premier League and Gallagher could be integral to that.”
Why might he want to stay?
“Charlton are a promising club with a good size stadium who have been in the Premier League in recent memory. They have a history of producing and developing youth. Before joining Charlton he signed a 3 year contract at Chelsea, committing his near future to the club.
“Charlton have started well and could be chasing promotion. They’re four points off of the top and two points from playoffs. However, Bowyer has been realistic and said they’re going for safety before setting any higher expectations.
“Competition is tough at Chelsea and once their transfer ban has ended and Loftus Cheek returns from injury, the competition will be tougher. If Charlton were to get promoted or be in a position next season to challenge for promotion, then maybe Gallagher could be tempted, permanently or on another loan.”
Would he stay or go back to Chelsea?
“Obviously, spending his academy career at Chelsea and growing up like so many other with current manager, Frank Lampard, as his hero makes it obvious that breaking through at Chelsea is the goal. If the opportunity is there, there’s no doubt he’d take it. Who wouldn’t?
“As I said, there are reasons that Charlton could tempt him but ultimately it depends on Chelsea. Lampard is being praised so much for giving English youth a chance then why should Gallagher not be given that chance next season? If he continues his form then he could easily prove himself at Championship level more than Mason Mount did at Derby and he’s now an England international.”
Is he ready for the Premier League?
“We need to see more of him at the Championship and then the Premier League is a whole extra step up. But, he’s only 19 and has shown such promising signs. He’s going to be Premier League quality without a doubt. How he’d play right now is hard to say, it’s too early to make big conclusions.
“Right now it would be a big risk but you never know. And at the start of next season could be completely different. And as I said Chelsea might strengthen further and mean Gallagher falls down the pecking order and could look for the door, even if for another loan.”
What chance do Charlton have of keeping hold of Gallagher?
“They’re slim. He’s been excellent for them and there’s no doubt he’d be a great player to have on your books. But, Chelsea are in control, if they go back to their old ways and neglect their promising youth then maybe Gallagher could become available. But, Chelsea are doing so well now that you’d imagine that they are going to keep Lampard and become a team that relies on youth they produce and Gallagher could be part of that.”