Frank Lampard is supposed to bring in a lot of changes as Chelsea manager, on and off the pitch, and including at the training ground in Cobham as well. That is set to engender not just philosophical change — forced or not, to some extent, by the transfer ban — but also tangible, real, physical change as well.
In order to foster better youth integration and simply a more open-feeling environment between senior and youth sides of the football operation, Lampard will, according to Matt Law of the Telegraph, “merge” certain parts of them together.
That doesn’t mean that the first-team and the academy will train together, but rather that the youth players will be allowed to use (some? most?) the first-team facilities, including the gym and the eatery. The idea is to apparently let the young and the old “mix”, and thus encourage more open pathways between the academy and the first-team, or at least make it feel more open.
Lampard will also make it a point to attend not only youth matches, but youth training as well — ideas that should actually lead to more open pathways much more so than ending any food- or gym-based segregation between the various squads.
All that is in stark contrast with Maurizio Sarri, who reportedly didn’t attend any youth games or care, in general, about the youth progression. Whether that should’ve been part of his job definition could be up for debate, though the separation of youth and senior has been going on for seven years now, since the arrival of Andre Villas-Boas (who probably was just taking a page out of Mourinho’s book). Of course, that didn’t prevent other coaches from at least making a token effort.
In any case, the Lampard Era is almost here — always the next 48 hours, until it’s not — and with it, hopefully some true positive change in this regard at Chelsea. According to the Telegraph, just the prospect of Lampard coming in “has caused excitement at the academy, where staff believe their efforts will now be properly rewarded”.
Hopefully that will translate into happiness on the pitch and on the scoreboard as well...