Will Frank Lampard and co place their faith in Chelsea's youngsters?

Andy Dillon by Andy Dillon / 04 July 2019, 10:37

Frank Lampard’s appointment as Chelsea manager is being hailed as the return of their prodigal son.

Dyed in the wool blue through and through and all that.

The arrival of the club’s former midfielder who played 13 years for the club is also meant to signal a change in tack from the club which has largely used it’s hugely productive academy as a bankrolling machine to buy first team stars off-the-peg.

Lampard along with his assistant Jody Morris and ‘performance adviser’ Petr Cech are all ex-players. Joe Cole - another who won Premier League titles in a Chelsea shirt - works part time as a youth coach as part of his plan to move into management ultimately.

These are the guys who will convince the young lads coming through the youth team ranks that there is a way through that glass ceiling and into the first team.

Yet there is one key name missing from that roll call of old soldiers who will soon be calling the shots at Stamford Bridge - John Terry.

Terry is the only guy who can really claim to have been a homegrown hero for Chelsea who made it right from the bottom to the very, very top.

Morris came through the production line true, but he played just over 100 games for them before being moved onto Leeds.

Lampard had played more games for West Ham before an £11 million move to Chelsea in 2001. He was also 23 years old at the time.

Cole cost Chelsea £6.6 million from a West Ham team in danger of going broke when he upped and left to cross from east to west London.

Goalkeeper Cech was five years into his professional career when he signed for Roman Abramovich’s revolutionising Blues from Rennes in 2004 for £7 million.

There’s rumours of old boys Claude Makelele, Didier Drogba and even Ashley Cole signing up to football’s equivalent of the Spice Girls reunion.

All of whom were expensive imports nicked from other clubs. Ashley Cole made the most controversial move of all after he was caught out talking to Abramovich’s henchmen behind the backs of Arsenal.

So how does this send a signal to those 16 and 17-year-olds currently sweating it out in pre-season, trying to get noticed by the new boss?

Only one of them is homegrown - the rest bought in above the heads of the kids from the academy who harbour notions of making it big at the club which gave them a start.

The real reason some of those brought through the youth team may get a chance is because of the two-window transfer ban Chelsea is currently serving while it’s case is on appeal.

They were done for breaking rules on signing young, foreign players: players from abroad to flood their academy and put an even bigger squeeze on the kids from South West London and Surrey who dream of making the big time.

Callum Hudson-Odoi had to slap in a transfer request to get noticed by departed boss Maurizio Sarri last season.

Ruben Loftus-Cheek was in the England team more often than he was in the Chelsea team, such is the cock-eyed way his parent club seems to work.

If Chelsea really wanted to show they have changed then giving Terry a high-profile job at the heart of the club, even if it is just being ‘JT Captain, Leader, Legend’ is the way to go.

The incoming squad of ex-players might have Chelsea in their hearts and Chelsea wages in their bank balances but do they have Chelsea in their blood?

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Laurent Banide
(Oldham Athletic)
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