One of the more prevalent hot takes after last night’s 3-3 draw at The Hawthorns was something along the lines of “all that money spent and it’s three Academy boys who score” to earn Chelsea’s comeback.
To which I’d counter, well, that’s precisely how it’s supposed to work!
Obviously, hot takes are meant to elicit a reaction, but to entertain that comment at face value for a second, that’s the entire point of spending the money, to complement the best of the Academy with the best available talent from outside the club. It’s all part of the plan.
We’re still figuring out the best combinations — Havertz linking superbly with Tammy midweek, and assisting Hudson-Odoi yesterday one example of that — but the idea is to make Chelsea better overall, regardless of who actually ends up scoring. Yesterday, it was the three Chelsea Academy boys. On Wednesday, it was Havertz with a triple on his own. Werner will get one soon (hit the bar in this one), while Ziyech hasn’t actually played yet (and neither has Christian Pulisic, last season’s big new arrival).
Point is, the money spent will make Chelsea better not only by the sheer quality added but by forcing those already at the club to become better. And that’s exactly what Lampard’s hoping to see from the likes of Tammy Abraham, Callum Hudson-Odoi, and Mason Mount, too, even if he wasn’t specifically named (but was key to the second half fightback).
“In a competitive squad, the people who play you always want it to be in a positive fashion. [...] It’s great to see the reaction of Callum and the way he made a difference and Tammy.
“The younger players, particularly with the players coming into the club, have been asked about it a lot this season about how they will react and where there place will be in the squad. It’s there for them. It’s there for them to take it with both hands.
“It was a difficult game for Tammy today where he had to keep working and fighting all the time to try and break down a back five but he gets his reward at the end. There were positives...”
Lampard has spent plenty of breath talking about Callum Hudson-Odoi this week — still the youngest first-team regular, mind — but both of Callum’s substitute appearances in our last two Premier League matches, against Liverpool and West Brom, have been impactful (in a good way). He may not have reached those same heights in his start midweek, but clearly the talent and the willingness is there. We just have to nurture it. And at 19, there is plenty more nurturing that needs to happen still.
“Callum gave me everything I asked and wanted from him in terms of his ability to go one v one, trying to take people on. He got his goal. That’s what Callum needs to do. That’s the sort of impact he can have for us and it has to be consistent. He gave himself a great platform now to continue in that vain. He’ll be very important for us if he does.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
There will be growing pains involved for all. Most of our key players are in their early 20s. Our coaching staff is relatively inexperienced as well. This was true last season, and it’s still true this season. Our ambitions may be high(er), but our patience cannot be lower.
Stay the course. The rewards will come, be that form the Academy boys, the big-money signings, or, ideally, from all of them together. Like Captain Planet used to say, BY YOUR POWERS COMBINED...