Eight Chelsea Academy players have signed their first professional contracts with the club.

The list includes six who were involved in last season's FA Youth Cup triumph.

Last season the players were all first-year scholars so are beginning their second season full-time at the club.

The eight are the Youth Cup full-backs Aziz Deen-Conteh and Billy Clifford, centre-back/midfielders Rohan Ince and George Saville, midfielder James Ashton, Slovakian attacker Milan Lalkovic, Austrian striker Philipp Prosenik and new European Under 17 champion with England, Josh McEachran.

Six of last season's young players who played below first-team level have been released this summer.

They are goalkeepers Niclas Heimann and Aldi Haxhia and outfield players Nana Ofori-Twumasi, Nikki Ahamed, Liam Bridcutt and Kenny Strickland.

Defender Ofori-Twumasi, who was part of the 2008 youth team that reached the FA Youth Cup Final, has joined League One Peterborough United on a three-year contract. He played 10 games for Chelsea Reserves last season, 34 in total, and also played on-loan at Dagenham and Redbridge.

Heimann has signed for Austrian club Red Star Salzburg. The German's two reserve appearances came before last season but he did play twice for the youth team in the 2009/10 campaign.

Haxhia was a more regular youth team keeper last season with 11 games to his name and 17 in total. He made one reserve appearance in two seasons.

Full-back/midfielder Ahamed scored once in 12 reserve appearances, 11 of which came last season.

Bridcutt, a defensive midfielder or defender, has been on loan at Watford, Yeovil and Stockport. He leaves Chelsea having played 44 reserve games, eight of which were last season.

Centre-back Strickland's one-year contract with Chelsea ended with seven reserve appearances and one goal plus 22 youth appearances and one goal.

Chelsea Football Club would like to wish all the players good luck in their careers and thanks them for the contribution during their time here.