Chelsea boss Frank Lampard says the eye-catching work in the transfer window does not mean the club’s promising youngsters will be restricted to bit-part roles this season.
Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Reece James, Fikayo Tomori and Billy Gilmour all had breakthrough seasons at Stamford Bridge last term, with Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek also featuring despite struggling with injury.
But although Kai Havertz, Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell and Thiago Silva have all arrived, Lampard said his new-look side “certainly won’t be stepping on the toes of the younger players”.
“What the younger players did last year was show their quality and it’s normal as a younger player to have different challenges and different steps on the ladder,” Lampard explained.
“Step one is to get into get in the team and get a lot of praise.
“Step two at a club like Chelsea is you will get competition year on year and can you react to that. And it has to be a positive reaction.
“I am not concerned about the young players. They are going to be a big part of our plans.
“The ones that were there last year will definitely be involved. I will have more options now.
“The line of communication with the academy is huge. Any young players that trains and play well will come over and train with us.
“It’s in their hands. I am not giving out appearances for the fun of it.
“I don’t want us to be the academy club that brings young players through but doesn’t win much.
“It’s a balance trying to move forward and sometimes bring these players in and give them a chance, but I hope that with the signings, the general levels rise.”
Lampard looks for qualities off as well as on the pitch when deciding whether to select players.
He explained: “You always try to look at character and manners and how a player conducts themselves and that is one of the things I look for even before the football.
“Billy Gilmour was a great illustration of that last year.
“I remember people saying he looks like a schoolboy. But when you see him every day in training how he puts his foot in, how he will go toe to toe with anyone and has the confidence on the ball to receive the ball in loads of areas that maybe a young player might shy away from or take too many touches he showed that natural ability.
“As a manager you can put him them in and they keep improving.”