Frank Lampard has claimed that he has a very good relationship with veteran striker Olivier Giroud, who has featured rather sparingly this season, even if we account for the unspecified but apparently fairly severe illness that took him out action for over a week and left him rather weak afterwards as well.
“My relationship is really good with him. He’s a great professional, trains at a level everyday, great in the dressing room and in the game, passes on experience which he does.”
It’s a somewhat ironic comment given the reports coming out of France over the past 24 hours that Giroud did not travel with the team for today’s game against Southampton. Giroud was named to the bench on Wednesday, against Lille in the Champions League, but apparently that won’t be the case today.
There are of course many possible reasons for his supposed absence, including several reasonable ones, but it will add to the narrative regarding the 33-year-old’s future regardless — especially as it pertains to his France chances — and will make for yet another annoyingly persistent line of questioning that Lampard will have to answer repeatedly.
But just as in the case of Christian Pulisic, Lampard can only pick eleven players to start, only one of whom is usually a center forward. Giroud, who always says the right things, himself admits that Tammy Abraham is undroppable at the moment — and thus surely the choice the Lampard has to make to give Chelsea the best chance of winning. At the end of the day, winning is still the primary directive for any Chelsea head coach, especially a competitor like Lampard.
“Everybody keeps asking me about the players that aren’t playing but it’s a difficult one because some players cant play whether they’re 32 or at the other end of the spectrum at 21. And they have to keep working and be positive within the group because I’ve got no winners in this game, I want the club to win.
“So when I choose to select people or not it’s because I think it’s the best thing. I’m not blind to the fact when you’re not playing it’s not nice. Everyone wants to play. I understand that and accept that. I was one of the worst. I hated not playing. I was terrible. So on this side of the fence I get it, I get it, but all I want to see is positivity, how they are daily in the place and I’m seeing that.
“I’m seeing that and that’s sometimes the thing people in the outside world doesn’t see - why is he not playing? This one or that one. I’ve got to make choices in training and I want the group to be positive and well spirited and getting results, and at the moment we are doing that and it has to continue.”
Unlike in the case of Pulisic, Lampard admits that Giroud has been training very well — as has Michy Batshuayi, in fairness — but they both have to keep waiting for their chances for the time being, and in the meantime, keep the pressure on and the competition up for Tammy Abraham.
”We need a big squad in these modern days to try and be a successful team and it will need everyone pulling through the season in the same direction whether playing or not. To be fair to Oli, he’s been fantastic training or not and we’ll need him.”
“Tammy has scored a lot of goals, scoring regularly, which is great for us. But Tammy needs to know that if his level drops you’ve got Giroud and Batshuayi training well and trying to get into the first team. That’s the competitive nature of the squad, that’s what we’ve got and what we want.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
As long as Chelsea keep winning, Lampard’s choices will not be subject to too much further microscopic examination.