Frank Lampard admits it was a ‘priority’ to reconnect Chelsea to their academy system following the club’s success in integrating young players this season.
Lampard’s first season in charge at Stamford Bridge has proven hugely positive with the club currently sitting in the Premier League‘s top four, but amongst the most pleasing aspects for the west London outfit has been the emergence and development of several academy graduates.
Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori, Reece James and Billy Gilmour are amongst the list of names who have impressed since being handed a first-team opportunity under Lampard this season, and the Chelsea boss has spoken of the importance he placed on finally building a bridge between the Blues’ youth system and senior squad.
“It was always going to be a priority and the relationships were already there,” Lampard told the latest edition of the Chelsea magazine.
“Joe [Edwards] and Jody [Morris] knew all the players, I knew the more prominent ones, and we all knew Neil Bath and Jim Fraser [from the Academy] well. It just had to be reconnected because it hadn’t been as connected in recent years.
“I wanted to know all the players, the names of the ones who were training well and deserved a chance. It’s easy to pluck a Billy Gilmour, but it’s also a case of hearing that, say, Henry Lawrence is training well – then get him over, get him training with us.
“All those little details are important and it’s brilliant, it’s what it’s all about – it shouldn’t be any other way.
“I’m certainly excited about the squad we’ve got, with the young players and if we can get a few additions for areas I feel we need. We didn’t bring in anyone in January, it didn’t work out to be right for us at the time, and last summer we couldn’t bring anyone in, so those windows are gone and we haven’t changed. So I am excited about the squad we’ve got, if we can freshen up in the right areas – we all know that.”