The making of Aggie Beever-Jones

Credit - PA Images

Credit - PA Images

Although the modest Aggie Beever-Jones would not admit it herself, she is the next big thing for both Chelsea and England.

And the 20-year-old's potential has been earmarked for some time. She signed her first professional deal in the summer of her 18th birthday, followed with successful loan spells at Bristol City and Everton.

She is also a mainstay of England's youth groups, having recently put in a star turn for the U23s in their victory against Portugal.

Capable of playing anywhere across the forward line, it was Beever-Jones' - sometimes known by the moniker ABJ - five goals in five successive WSL appearances this season that have made people sit up and pay attention.

And despite her age, she has quickly developed into a versatile and intelligent player who is becoming Emma Hayes' go-to girl for goals.

And with Sam Kerr now ruled out for the season with an ACL injury, Beever-Jones' ability and goals are more important than ever.

In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports, Beever-Jones discusses her meteoric rise from Chelsea academy to first-team goal machine, and what her bright future may hold.

  • Stream the WSL on Sky Sports with NOW
  • Get Sky Sports | Download the Sky Sports App
  • Chelsea has been in Beever-Jones' blood since before she was born, growing up in Surrey, not far from the Blues' training base in Cobham.

    It was her grandad - described by the 20-year-old as a 'die-hard Chelsea fan and season ticket holder' - who sparked her love of football.

    "He used to take me to a few of the games at Stamford Bridge. That’s where it really started."

    Then came the inevitable spell of playing with boys her own age that punctuates every female footballer's story.

    Because of her gender, Beever-Jones initially played in goal. But once she found herself outside of the 18-yard box, she discovered her love for the attacking aspects of the game.

    She remembered: "My mum and dad signed me up for a local little league down at the local park and I played in goal with the boys.

    "I think it was a ‘you’re a girl, let’s chuck you in goal’, then I think I came out for one day and I haven’t looked back since.

    "When you’re a kid who has that much energy, you’re just running round.

    "But I’ve always been an attack-minded player, wanting to get on the ball and dribble a lot and that’s probably where it started when I was younger – dribbling and trying to score. I don’t think six-year-old me would like defending as much as I do.

    "I’ve got a picture of me in goal and then me playing outfield so it’s funny to see that it’s changed a bit."

    Aggie Beever-Jones scored her first senior and WSL goal for Chelsea against Brighton in October

    Aggie Beever-Jones scored her first senior and WSL goal for Chelsea against Brighton in October

    It was at one of her little league sessions that a Chelsea scout spotted her talent.

    "He said to my dad ‘your girl isn’t too bad is she, you should send her down for a trial."

    But despite her affinity with the Blues, her path to the academy was initially met with rejection. However, Beever-Jones went away, worked on her game and eventually made it in.

    She said: "I had my first trial at Chelsea when I was maybe eight or nine, and I didn’t get in the first year. It felt like the end of the world.

    "I remember Chippy, the coach, told me what I needed to work on and then I came back, tried out again the next year and I got in.

    "So there was that rejection when I was a really young kid and I was so upset but it helped. I had to deal with that and realise I needed to work on things before I could progress.

    "I think I then signed when I was nine or 10 and I’ve been there ever since. I’m not even too sure what season it is now in my Chelsea career! It’s either nine, 10 or 11, one of those."

    It is her time in Chelsea's academy that fully prepared Beever-Jones to be a professional footballer - the key purpose of any youth system.

    She explained: "Being in the academy, we have the leagues, which are similar to the WSL, and all the cups. We had the FA Cup which we got to the final of.

    "I remember we went to Texas with the academy and did some tournament football out there. And the same with Paris, we went there and played PSG which was really cool.

    "I’ve definitely learnt a lot and been coached by many coaches who have definitely helped me along the way. I make sure I thank them every time I see them just for everything they’ve done for me.

    "Especially people like Leanne Champ, who played for Chelsea herself and then coached me and sorted me out a little bit.

    "I’m just buzzing to be where I am now. The academy, which ultimately prepared me for everything that’s going on at the moment."

    I’ve definitely learnt a lot and been coached by many coaches who have definitely helped me along the way. I make sure I thank them every time I see them just for everything they’ve done for me.
    Aggive Beever-Jones on her academy coaches

    And Beever-Jones is one of the lucky players to have ultimately been offered a professional contract as she turned 18, something she describes as an 'absolute dream come true'.

    When asked when she first had an inkling that a contract may be offered to her, she replied: "I was never entirely too sure. There had been a few girls who would train up, then would leave and go elsewhere. And everyone is different and unique in their own way.

    "I trained a few times and played a few training games and I thought I did alright so I always had hopes, but I never really thought it would happen.

    "I remember getting called into the room and Paul [Green] and Emma [Hayes] said ‘we’d love to offer you a contract’.

    "I called my mum and dad like ‘you won’t believe it, it’s actually happened’. They’re both Chelsea fans and were as ecstatic as I was. I was so shaky the whole journey home.

    "It was a very proud time of my life and I’ll always be grateful to them for trusting me to give me that contract."

    Beever-Jones' first foray into regular first-team football came with a move to Bristol City for the 2021/22 Women's Championship campaign.

    She was joined by another new face in manager Lauren Smith - who remains the Robins' head coach - who lit up when recently asked about her former loanee.

    “Aggie’s great,” Smith said ahead of Bristol City's WSL match against Chelsea.

    “Watching her career develop and her as a person develop has been just great. She came to us as a very young footballer, just 18, and you could see it in everything that she did. We were part of the process and that’s what we hope to be – part of the process for these players that go on and play at the top level.

    “I know that she’ll carry on growing. She’s a great person and she came to watch quite a few of our games last year in the Championship, so I know that she supports us as well.

    “I hope she goes on after that point [the WSL match between Bristol City and Chelsea] to carry on smashing it because I’m so pleased that she’s managed to get herself into that squad and get onto the pitch. For Emma [Hayes] to rely on her week in, week out is so pleasing to see because she is a phenomenal talent.”

    Beever-Jones too only had positive memories of Bristol City, and Smith herself.

    "I still message Lauren every so often because she was a very important person in my career," Beever-Jones said with a smile.

    "Bristol City took me in with open arms when I was 18 years old with not much experience really in Championship football.

    I’m so pleased that she’s managed to get herself into that squad and get onto the pitch. For Emma [Hayes] to rely on her week in, week out is so pleasing to see because she is a phenomenal talent.
    Bristol City manager Lauren Smith on Aggie Beever-Jones

    "They welcomed me like I was one of their own and helped me in many ways both on and off the pitch, with living away from home and getting the support I needed.

    "Then on the pitch, they trusted me to play, which as a younger player, is something you really need. You need that game time to experiment, try new things and make mistakes. I was able to do that at Bristol City.

    "We ended up finishing third that season and then they went on to get promoted the following season so I was really happy for them."

    The next move came as Beever-Jones joined fellow WSL side Everton in the 2022/23 season. It marked a step-up in league and a step-up in quality, with the forward describing the campaign as 'the right step at the time in my career to understand the league a bit better'.

    Beever-Jones added: Brian [Sorensen] has helped me again, and I managed to speak to him after the game [against Everton this season] when I scored, which I felt a bit bad about.

    "Everton helped out massively as well, they gave me that trust and game time I needed.

    "I always look back on both clubs with very fond memories and thank both coaches because they’ve helped me a lot."

    The 20-year-old's heatmaps show how much more defensive work she had to do at Everton, especially compared with her current season with Chelsea.

    When asked if that was one of the purposes of her Everton move, Beever-Jones replied: "You've hit the nail on the head. At Chelsea, we’re ball dominant and at Everton, we had to defend a lot more.

    "For me at the time, that’s what I needed to work on so it was a perfect fit for me to go to Everton and work on that part of my game.

    "After the chats I’ve had with Emma and Denise [Reddy], they can see the progression I’ve made and that was ultimately what the loan was for."

    And of course, when discussing Beever-Jones' time at Everton and her journey so far, it would be remiss to not mention her red card against Arsenal, the first of her professional career.

    It was a crunching tackle on Lia Walti that led to a distraught Beever-Jones' dismissal. As is unfortunately part and parcel of football these days, it was followed with social media abuse.

    It led to both Beever-Jones and Walti making online statements - the former an apology, the latter a plea for kindness. The Arsenal midfielder said: "Football is a contact sport, these injuries happen and are part of our game. No need for any hate or bad comments towards Agnes Beever-Jones please. Thank you!"

    At the time still a teenager, there were lessons to be learnt in not only her own game, but also her first exposure to the sometimes harsh - and unjustified - realities of the spotlight.

    Brian Sorensen was keen to keep Beever-Jones at the club on loan for a second season, but the forward was ultimately kept at Chelsea and given her shot at a first-team place.

    She went on loan deals as an academy player and came back as a first-team player
    Emma Hayes on Aggie Beever-Jones' loan spells

    Giving her own view of why she decided to stay at Chelsea this season, Beever-Jones explained: "If I’m honest, the opportunity presented itself with players leaving, like Pernille [Harder].

    "That door opened and granted, we bought in more players, but I felt like I was at a point in my career where I could fight for my place more than I was maybe two years ago or even a year ago.

    "I could’ve gone on loan back to Everton, but whether I would have been challenged as I am now, we don’t know, but I definitely feel like I’m able to show what I can do.

    "It shows with having scored five goals, which doesn’t always feel real, but I’ve done it so it feels pretty cool.

    "I also feel like I’m at home here and not outside of my comfort zone. I’m being challenged every day, but in the right kind of way and not out of my depth.

    "We want to win as much as we can and hopefully in six months time we can be happy with how we did."

    Item 1 of 3

    Staying at Chelsea proved to be crucial, not only for Beever-Jones' development, but for the club too.

    It is perhaps more pertinent given the recent news of Kerr's ACL injury, which will see her absent for much of 2024. The likes of Guro Reiten and Fran Kirby have also missed games this season through injury, offering Beever-Jones another opportunity to play.

    She has played the majority of her seven WSL games for Chelsea on the right, spending far more time in the 18-yard box - no surprise given her five goals in as many games for the Blues in October and November.

    Subsequently, Beever-Jones has been dubbed the 'super sub' by fans, scoring four of those goals from the bench. Her other came in a 5-1 win against Liverpool in her only WSL start of the season so far.

    Her goals have helped keep Chelsea's WSL lead intact while also improving her own game and confidence.

    "I honestly don’t know what’s creating the goal run or whatever you want to call it," Beever-Jones said of her form this season.

    "Maybe it’s just a lot of hard work paying off, having trust in the coaching staff at Chelsea. They have such a good collective football knowledge and I think knowing my role when I’m coming on as a sub.

    "Emma’s telling me ‘this is where you can exploit them and if you do this, this will happen’. She knows a lot about football so listening to her, it has paid off.

    "I really enjoy coming on and playing for Chelsea but ultimately, I want to be pushing continuously to be playing as much as I can.

    "The main thing for me is focusing on the performances and not getting too caught up on the goals because they’re just bonuses - that’s how I look at it. I don’t look at it as scoring is the only thing, so I need to make sure I work on what I need to work on and keep doing what I’m doing, which has been working.

    "In this environment, we have so many amazing, talented players that I know it’s going to be tough, but being at Chelsea is the club I want to play for."

    It continues to be a season of firsts for Beever-Jones. Along with her first senior goals for Chelsea, she is also playing in the Champions League for the first time as well as experiencing Stamford Bridge.

    She will experience both over the next 10 days. Chelsea take on Manchester United on Saturday in their WSL return before hosting Real Madrid in the Champions League group stages. Both games will be played at Stamford Bridge.

    The week is rounded off with a trip to Brighton - one of the five teams Beever-Jones has already scored against this season - on Saturday January 27, live on Sky Sports.

    Reflecting on both so far, the forward said: "I was buzzing to come on and make my Champions League debut [against BK Hacken] and annoyed I didn’t score actually because I had a chance, but hopefully it will come.

    "I’ve always been someone who has taken small steps at a time and whatever is meant to be will be. I’ll wait and hopefully get the Champions League goal, but at the moment, I’m just enjoying it.

    "I’m honoured Emma is trusting me to come on in those moments, trusting me to do what I can do and help the team in the best way I can.

    "Stamford Bridge definitely feels like a home away from home. We have Kingsmeadow which we’ve made out fortress and we have such a good atmosphere there.

    "At Stamford Bridge, you can see that happening slowly but surely, we are getting more and more fans there and the atmosphere feels amazing.

    "We love it there and we have a good track record so we just want to play the best football we can possibly play."

    It has been quite the whirlwind few months for Beever-Jones, and speaking to a such a calm, thoughtful character, it is hard to believe she is only 20 years old.

    But it is her young age that is playing a role in her strength of versatility and developing her knowledge across any role in the front line.

    Her best position? "I don’t even know myself. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing and a bad thing."

    Surely, based on her form this season, it can only be a good thing and a bonus for Chelsea.

    "At the moment, I’m looking at it as I’m a versatile player who can understand any of the roles I need to be bought in as," she continued.

    "It helps my game understanding and if I’m playing wing and I see someone in the box, I think ‘what would I want if I was in that position’ and sometimes that can help.

    "But I’m just delighted to be on the pitch, regardless of what position.

    "I’m trying to play with a smile on my face, which is what my mum and dad have always said so I try and do that."

    But along with plaudits comes expectations placed and pressure on her young shoulders. It is a natural by-product of playing for Chelsea - and scoring five goals in five games.

    It will come as no surprise, however, that Beever-Jones is shutting out any outside noise that surrounds her.

    "I’m just enjoying it and trying to play with a smile on my face, which is what my mum and dad have always said so I try and do that."
    Aggie Beever-Jones on enjoying her football

    "I’ve always been one to bat it away and not get caught up in it just because I don’t want to be that kind of player really," she said.

    "I get a lot of advice from the girls. I think Niamh [Charles] joined at a similar age to what I am now. I’ve got a good relationship with her so she’s taken me under her wing, which is nice.

    "But dealing with the pressure, that is effectively what the loans have been preparing me for - to come back to Chelsea and deal with that pressure.

    "I’m just keeping focus on what I can control. The main thing at the moment is consistency in what I can do and doing the basics well."

    It is no surprise that Beever-Jones' form this season has seen a clamour for her senior England call-up.

    She is already a key part of the England U23s set-up under Emma Coates, with the likes of Katie Robinson - who was part of the Lionesses' World Cup squad - Jess Park, Maya Le Tissier and Ebony Salmon already spending time with the senior squad.

    And according to Sarina Wiegman, that move to the next level may not be far away for Beever-Jones.

    "She’s in our conversations. I think it’s a little bit too early. We see good things," Wiegman said.

    "She’s in the U23s and it’s good she can get the minutes there and keep developing. I hope she keeps improving and gives us headaches with our selection."

    And it comes as no surprise that a call-up to the senior squad is on Beever-Jones' mind too.

    "You can tell the pathway is working from all the success and people getting bought in, like Khaira Keating and Grace Clinton, who are really good friends of mine," she said.

    "For me, I’m looking at that thinking ‘if they’re getting picked, Sarina is clearly watching us’.

    "I’d love for the call to happen, but I’m a firm believer that when the time is right, it will happen. I just want to keep making everyone happy – Emma [Coates] and Sarina – and we’ll see what happens."

    The final four months of the season will be intense for Chelsea, with four competitions still to juggle. The Blues will want to win them all, especially as it will be Hayes' final farewell.

    With squad depth more vital than ever and given her form already this season, there will surely be much more to come from Beever-Jones.

    She is doing everything right - listening to her coaches, learning her roles and keeping herself grounded.

    She has plotted and used her loan spells wisely, with the opportunity now opening up for her at Chelsea. It is one the forward is grabbing with both hands.

    While a player can never be assured of their starting place, Beever-Jones is demonstrating she already has the strength of mind to handle whatever may come.

    And on her current path, Beever-Jones' future looks bright. And at the age of just 20, she makes for an exciting prospect for Chelsea and England.

    Five goals in five games is only the start. Expect much more from Beever-Jones in the years to come.