Among Chelsea’s senior players, only Olivier Giroud, Michy Batshuayi, and Ross Barkley have played fewer minutes than Pedro Rodríguez so far this season, but head coach Frank Lampard insists that the veteran winger remains an important part of Chelsea’s plans for this season.
The 32-year-old serial winner may be languishing at the very bottom of the pecking order when it comes to attacking players, but he’s apparently our contingency plan. And I suppose that makes some sense, even if Pedro has not really managed to make an impact in his most recent appearances (rare as they may be). Christian Pulisic has often sparkled, but has been dealing with a few minor injuries (again) lately. Callum Hudson-Odoi is still trying to find his feet after a major injury. Mason Mount isn’t really a winger. And Willian is ... Willian (take that as you will to match your own predispositions).
So while Pedro hasn’t been needed much in the last few months — just four appearances since the start of October — he may be needed a bit more in the next few.
“He is part of my plans [...] I do have competition in that area. He has had bits here and there, I know he wants more games, I get that. But he certainly has something that he can contribute here with his experience and his ability to break lines and run behind people and maybe get those goals in and around the box.
”He is here, I know his contract is up at the end of the season but I am not even looking that far ahead. He is here, he is part of the squad and I need everybody because football can change very quickly. There can be a period of games where you are on the bench, out of the squad, something changes an that is the moment that you have to come in and produce.
”I have got no winners in this game, I want the club to be the winner. People come in and do well, they stay in the team.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Goal
Lampard has been nothing but forthright when talking about the situations of various Chelsea squad members. So Pedro just might be staying, especially as interest in him has not been as widely reported as interest in Olivier Giroud, for example.
Unless Chelsea can pull off a major January coup with someone like Jadon Sancho or Wilfried Zaha, it’s likely that Pedro will be staying until the end of the season. He just might have a clutch goal or two left in him yet!