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Chelsea loanee Fikayo Tomori heading ‘to the top’ after ‘incredible progression’ at Derby County

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Frank Lampard handing out praise freely to the young defender

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It’s easy to get lost among the dozens and dozens of loanees — too many to count — on Chelsea’s books, even if you’re not off in some far off land but just a bit up the M1.

That’s been the case with young Fikayo Tomori, who’s been overshadowed, certainly in terms of media attention, by fellow Chelsea loanee Mason Mount at Frank Lampard’s Derby County. But as crucial as Mount has been to the Rams’ promotion hopes, 21-year-old Tomori has quietly become an indispensable part of Derby’s setup.

In fact, other than club captain Richard Keogh, who’s literally played every single minute of every single game in every single competition (46 matches in total) no one has played more than Tomori. And Tomori only lags behind the Ironman Keogh by 270 minutes — and one of those games he missed as he hadn’t yet joined on loan!

Tomori’s success isn’t surprising. He’s always been a rock for the Chelsea youth teams and he showed well in his previous two loans (half season at Brighton, full season at Hull, both in the Championship). It’s fair to say, he’s now too good for the second tier, an assessment that Lampard fully agrees with.

“His progression this year has been incredible. From when he came in, he was a good young player anyway, but you can see how pivotal he has been in our team. He has grown from within and I’ve enjoyed working with him day to day.

“He wants to learn and improve his game but all the attributes he has, he is using them. There is still a lot more steps in him to go but he was incredible on Saturday against Rotherham. He performed from the first minute until the last and when he plays like that, it’s scary to think how good he can be. He can go to the top if he plays like he did on Saturday and can get better.”

Right to the top!

So that’s two-for-two with Lampard and Chelsea loans, with both Mount and Tomori taking full advantage of the coaches’ trust — shout out to Jody Morris here as well! — and repaying said trust with excellent performances.

“I’ve always said with loans that it is a two-way street. They do well for us, hopefully we do well for them, and they go back to their clubs improved. It is satisfaction because, like most of the young players, they are sponges, they want to learn, they are hungry and do well at this club.

“If you watch the way Tomori celebrates every goal; he sprints up the field and celebrates with everyone and he feels it. That is what the fans want to see and that’s what makes players to have the capabilities to be top players because it comes from that hunger within. We have huge satisfaction with how he has progressed and he needs to keep it going for the last couple of games.”

-Frank Lampard; source: Rams TV

Derby have eight games left in their season, starting with today’s clash down in West London against Brentford (hiya, Josh McEachran!).

Lampard’s tenure hit a bit of a rough patch recently when Mount was out, but he’s now back and looking to close the season strong. Derby are just a couple points out of the last two promotion playoff spots, so they have everything to play for still and will need further great performances from the Chelsea loanees (and the rest of the team as well).

Good luck, boys!