The congested fixture list gives us little to no time to rest and recover usually, but that’s not the case at the moment, with the only game to worry about for nearly two weeks an FA Cup third round match against fourth division Morecambe FC.
Frank Lampard is expected to rotate heavily for Sunday’s encounter, which is good news for the three injured senior players — apparently none of whom are too seriously hurt (not even Christensen!), but are not quite 100 per cent. And that trio includes N’Golo Kanté: overuse catching up to him fortunately at the least impactful time for the team’s prospects.
“Reece James is out for the game. He will train with us tomorrow but the game will come too early. Andreas Christensen and N’Golo Kanté, too. Kanté has a minor hamstring injury so will miss this game and is suspended for Fulham next Friday so we’ll get him right”
“[Christensen’s injury] was absolutely from that moment in the Villa game [with Jack Grealish]. It’s probably a typical modern-day reaction where Andreas has taken stick. He’s out but the injury isn’t too bad which is good news for him. He’ll be back training with us tomorrow.”
To cover these absences, and also enjoy the rare occasion of a low-stakes match, Lampard & Co have promoted no fewer than five youth players. Of the five, only Tino Anjorin has any real experience at the first-team team. The other four, Henry Lawrence, Jude Soonsup-Bell, Lewis Bate and Tino Livramento, will be potentially making their senior professional debuts if they get to play against Morecambe this weekend.
“The young players have come into training because the original COVID rules meant we could only have a certain amount of players and staff in the bubble. An alteration to that recently has meant we can have some academy players to call upon, and they have been tested quite rightly in the process. So that’s a big plus for us, in terms of being able to train at the level that we want to train. So they’ve been in to train with us and some may be involved in the game.
“We’ve called up both Tinos (Anjorin and Livramento), Jude, who has been scoring goals in the youth team. We’ve called up Lewis Bate who has trained with us before and Henry Lawrence. It’s a great experience for them and it’s something I’ve wanted to do and last season was able to do pre-restart.”
Of all the Chelsea coaches in the last few decades, Lampard is clearly the one most eager and willing to use young players and give them the opportunity to shine. It’s all part of the better long-term vision (seemingly) in place at the club these days.
“It helps training because it’s really important to have competitive training and having young players enables you to be really competitive with[out] killing the other players physically in between games.
“We’ve had a long week and they’ve been really able to help that. They’ve also been able to show their qualities and it’s always great to gauge young players to see how quickly they take to the football side of training but also how their personalities react to the uplift in pressure and level in training.
“It’s something I’ve always believed passionately for the club and I have seen a lot out of all of those players that have come to train with us. They are real potential for us and there are lots of steps for them in many different ways, but I’ve been really pleased to do it.
“It’s good for the older players because they can speak to the younger lads and help them. And for the young players it shows what they can aspire to.”
-Frank Lampard; source: Football.London
Chelsea are in dire need of a breath of fresh air. Perhaps one of these five youngsters will be able to do that on Sunday, and perhaps even beyond, with a lot of matches (and important matches) still to be played this season!