Frank Lampard’s Chelsea tenure has been defined in large part by the emergence of homegrown young talent, which in turn has sidelined some of the non-homegrown veteran talent. Two of those most affected have been David Luiz, who saw the writing on the wall and jumped ship in the summer, and Olivier Giroud, who’s set to follow suit in January.
To his credit, Giroud has behaved with the utmost professionalism despite his lack of involvement. As a former player who faced similar dilemmas in his later career, Lampard certainly understands the situation, and will surely help all involved reach a positive resolution soon.
“He’s part of our squad and we will see when the window opens if anything happens. I know he has commented this week. As I have said before, his professionalism and the way he has trained has been spot on for me.
“It’s purely been that over the course of the season so far my selections. A lot of that has been Tammy’s form, he has been one of the outstanding strikers in the Premier League this year in my opinion. That’s the way it’s been. When January comes we can officially start talking about it more.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Abraham’s emergence was certainly hoped for, but was hardly a foregone conclusion, despite his tremendous goalscoring record a division below and in the youth teams, and even (or especially) after he chose the “cursed” No.9 shirt number this summer. With a classic 1-in-2 ratio thus far (13 goals in 26 appearances in all competitions), he’s doing just fine in breaking that curse for good.
Fikayo Tomori’s rise to prominence was even less expected. In the summer, he was at best fifth choice and was likely leaving on loan. But David Luiz’s shock departure just two months after signing a two-year contract that broke all club rules regarding contracts for older players — plus Antonio Rüdiger’s unfortunate injuries — opened a spot and Tomori has taken full advantage.
Player development is often a question of being in the right place at the right time, and David Luiz’s decision to leave after disagreeing with Lampard’s vision of the future, created the right opportunity for Tomori.
Ahead of Sunday’s first meeting against David Luiz’s Arsenal, Lampard pointed out that blessing in disguise while playing down any personal animosity that may have entered the narrative since.
“I don’t want to [...] make it a personal question going into a game against a player who I respect and played with.
“If you look at our defenders and the emergence of [Fikayo] Tomori, it has been a big plus for us.
”It was just a decision that was made and while I’m here there will be countless more of those. Again, I certainly wish Luiz well. He was part of a Champions League-winning team with me, he played with half a hamstring in the final — I know that. He got himself fit when he was under pressure with the injury. I will always respect that.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Sky
Having replaced big personalities, now it’s up to the kids to lead the way into the future. Recently, that quest has seen some severe setbacks. Expected as they may have been, the sooner we can get beyond these growing pains, the better. Sunday at the Emirates is a perfect time to start (again).