Chelsea’s youth revolution is well and truly underway after last night’s five-star performance, with the youngsters, to a man, repaying the faith shown in them by the coaching staff with mature, game-changing performances.
But it would do disservice to the rest of the team to concentrate on just the kids, as good of a story that they make. Chelsea’s more experienced players will be counted on just the same as well, be that as starters or as substitutes and rotational options.
It’s a tricky balance that Frank Lampard managed to achieve last year at Derby County already, and will be looking to do so again this season.
“It’s important we also respect the experienced players have played a huge part. Wilian was fantastic today, absolutely brilliant. If we are going to be successful this season we can’t rely on the young boys, although at the minute they are doing a good job!”
What a good job it was indeed yesterday as the goalscoring trio added five more to Chelsea’s goal tally for the season, all 11 of which in the Premier League have been scored by Academy graduates.
All 11 of Chelsea's goals in the Premier League this season have been scored by academy graduates.— Football Tweet (@Football__Tweet) September 14, 2019
Tammy Abraham: ⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽⚽
Mason Mount: ⚽⚽⚽
Fikayo Tomori: ⚽ pic.twitter.com/9ii1vpMeNy
Leading that way is of course Tammy Abraham, who already has more Premier League goals than any Chelsea striker had last season. The Curse of the No.9 Shirt, dare we say, is beginning to be lifted?
If he continues working, it just might be. Lampard is willing to give him chances obviously, but only if he keeps working hard in training and staying hungry in games.
“The three different types of goals he scored were exactly what you want from Tammy: a messy one, a good header and then a fantastic feet and finish goal. He has to sustain it. He has to be hungry which I know he is. He can never rest on his laurels because there is more work to be done.
“I have got confidence in him, I am prepared to give him chances, but even more now be tougher on him because he has shown what he can do. The moment he wants to come off that and think goals will drop at his feet will be the moment he is rested.
“But I’m happy because I see him every day and he wants to play every day and score every day. That’s something a bit special. You don’t see that in all young players.”
Tammy (and Mason Mount) have certainly garnered plenty of attention and press already this season, but the same can’t be said for Fikayo Tomori. The 21-year-old center back, who was close to leaving on loan (or worse) before the shock departure of David Luiz, has started the last two games and has shown great composure and awareness — not to mention his tremendous curling long shot that opened the scoring against Wolves and changed the course of the game.
Lampard is of course familiar with Tomori after coaching him at Derby County last season — Tomori was in fact Derby’s Player of the Season — but not even Super Frank expected the youngster to produce a shot like that.
“I know he’s comfortable doing that from having him last year. I didn’t know he could stick it in the top corner. That was a surprise I am very happy with!
“At the start of last season he was already a good young player, but the confidence in him and the personality on the pitch is a great story from seeing it first-hand.
“I know he can step in because he has pace, he has recovery pace, he defended really well as well. I’m delighted for what today can hopefully do for him.”
Young or old, in-form or out, singled out for praise or praised collectively, Lampard has made it clear since arriving that he requires total commitment and discipline from all players, in games and in training — especially in training. He will be looking for more of the same going forward and will continue to give minutes to those who deserve it.
“It’s the same for all of them. If they keep playing with the same attitude and training every day like they have trained as young players then they are going to have fantastic careers, all of them.
“But they must sustain that. They should aspire and feel the opportunity is there if they deserve it, and they should see their team-mates doing really well and want to get in there. They are there because they deserve it.”
- Frank Lampard; source: Chelsea FC
Let the good times roll! It’s Valencia and the return of Champions League nights at the Bridge next!