Burnley's Ben Mee - who wasn't given his chance at Manchester City - is pleased to see young players being handed an opportunity at clubs like Chelsea

Ben Mee looks to stop Chelsea's Jacob Mellis in his tracks during the FA Youth Cup final in 2008
Ben Mee looks to stop Chelsea's Jacob Mellis in his tracks during the FA Youth Cup final in 2008

Burnley skipper Ben Mee had once found himself in the same position that so many young dreamers in the sport find themselves in today.

A teenage hopeful, who harboured lucid aspirations of being appreciated and recognised, awaiting his big break having given his all to one club.

Burnley's Ben Mee keeps a close eye on Liverpool's Mo Salah at Turf Moor

Burnley's Ben Mee keeps a close eye on Liverpool's Mo Salah at Turf Moor

The centre back, who spent 12 years at Manchester City, had captained the club's next generation to the FA Youth Cup in 2008, securing the silverware after a two-legged win over Chelsea.

Mee, who netted the equaliser in the 3-1 win at the City of Manchester Stadium, had good reason to believe that a promotion to Sven Goran Eriksson's senior operation was on the cards at that point.

Joining a defensive pool of Vedran Corluka, Richard Dunne, Javier Garrido, Nedum Onuoha, Micah Richards and Sun Jihai had become a distinct possibility.

However, just 137 days after that Youth Cup success, the wheels were in motion as the Abu Dhabi United Group began its purchase of the club from Thaksin Shinawatra.

That effectively spelled the end for Mee, who went on to make his sole appearance for City in a 2-1 loss to West Brom in the League Cup the day after his 21st birthday.

“The timing I was there personally the club was just changing," he said. "They were at the transition stage of bringing players in.

"Maybe a couple of years earlier it might have been a bit different, but they were bringing a lot of players in and money was coming in.

“For me it was about getting out on loan and getting that experience to go and play in a league.

"I wanted to play football for a first team and be a main focus of a club and it was my aim to do that, and I love my journey that I’ve been on."

Mee, who would enjoy a loan spell with Leicester City in the Championship, under Eriksson, is pleased to see that young players are starting to get an opportunity to prove themselves in the top flight.

Manchester United, who have carried that tradition for decades, remain a positive example while Chelsea have also championed youth this term.

The Blues, who are Saturday's opponents at Turf Moor, may have had their hand forced due to a transfer embargo, sanctioned by FIFA, which prohibited the club from making signings for two transfer windows.

But Frank Lampard has kept faith with his proteges. Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi have all been given their chance to shine this season.

Mee said: “They’ve all got fantastic academies and when you see the young lads coming through it definitely brings an excitement to watching the games when you see the young lads doing well.

“There are a few at Chelsea doing really well and lads at (Manchester) United - good players are really getting a chance from these good academies.

“You definitely want to see more of that. They have to be good enough to be given that chance and there’s a lot of pressure on managers to get success.

"It's good to see that the young lads are doing well and coming in to the Premier League. There's a lot of pressure on them at a big club like that.

"It will be a great experience for them going into the future, playing these games, deal with the expectancy that the fans and everyone around has at a club like Chelsea.

"These lads are getting the chance and you want to see them take it and do well for club and country. It's always good to see young English boys doing well and thriving in the Premier League. It's exciting to see."