Frank Lampard says Chelsea’s young guns will get a chance to make a first-team breakthrough regardless of nationality if their attitude is right but revelled in the “nice story” of England call-ups for academy graduates Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori.
Lampard starred for Chelsea and England in an esteemed playing career and is now forging pathways for a new generation of youngsters at Stamford Bridge, partially aided by a transfer ban.
The Blues have promoted Mount, Abraham and Tomori to the first team this season and all three have impressed, earning call-ups to the senior England team for the coming international break.
Chelsea have been criticised in the past for not granting opportunities to players from their impressive academy, meaning Lampard appreciates the early success of the trio.
“There’s two things. I really like it, the affiliation with the academy, and the fans love it,” he told reporters. “That’s one – and I do like that side of it.
“But the other 50 per cent is that I don’t care where they come from as long as they play trying to do the right things.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re an English 20-year-old, a French 20-year-old, et cetera. If the ethics are right and you deserve your place in the team, you’ll get your place in the team.
— Fikayo Tomori (@fikayotomori_) October 3, 2019
“Yes, it’s obviously a nice story because fans really do enjoy seeing the young English boys coming through and they all have an affiliation with the club.
“But if you look below them slightly, we have Ian Maatsen, a young Dutch boy who’s a really good young player, and if he comes through, I’ll feel exactly the same. It’s nice to see.”
Mount and Abraham have both played for England at senior level previously, but Tomori is a new name in Gareth Southgate’s squad.
Lampard considers the defender “a project” but also believes he has set a standard with his recent performances that he now must continue to keep.
“To play so well against Liverpool and Mo Salah, as he did, and against the really quick Lille strikers in a European away game, now I want to make sure he switches straight back on – like he did against Brighton – like he hopefully will against Southampton,” Lampard said.
“Those are the standards now. The consistency levels will be the tester. The only way I know that you can guard against anything negative happening is how you apply yourself daily.”