TEENAGE Oxfordshire footballer Josh McEachran made history on his Chelsea first-team debut in their UEFA Champions League tie away to MSK Zilina on Wednesday.

The 17-year-old midfielder, from Kirtlington, replaced Yossi Benayoun for the last 11 minutes of Chelsea’s 4-1 victory.

He thereby became the first player to be born after the UEFA Champions League started on November 25, 1992 to take part in the competition.

McEachran, born on March 1, 1993 and one of the brightest prospects in English football, received high praise from Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, who said of the starlet: “When it is possible, I like to give the time to players to improve their experience in the team.

“Josh will have a fantastic future with Chelsea Football Club. He has time to improve and he has time to become a fantastic player.”

The England Under 19 international, who plays left or central midfield, had no idea he was coming on.

He said: “Carlo said to me ‘go on and enjoy yourself and just do what you can do.’ “It was good experience and I just have to go on from here.

“Hopefully I'll get a few more games under my belt and play a few more times in the first team.”

McEachran, who started his football with Garden City in the Oxford Mail Boys League, was spotted by a scout and joined Chelsea as an eight-year-old.

From Kirtlington School, he went to Marlborough School, Woodstock, where his talent was described as “awesome” by Lesley Melloch, head of PE.

“Josh was one of the best in all sports, although he only represented the school at football,” she said.

“Even then he was going to Chelsea for training one or two days a week, so didn’t play for the school as much he might have done.

“He’s a nice lad, and it was clear even at a young age that he was going to become a top footballer.”

Josh’s parents, Mark and Julie, were unable to be there on Wednesday night, but were understandably thrilled.

“We have four other children and thought he would just be on the bench, so we just watched it on television,” said Julie.

“We’re very proud of him.”