The kids Chelsea will call on: With Frank Lampard vowing to stick by his young guns, here’s the EIGHT academy talents lined up with a chance to help turn the Blues’ shaky start to the season around
- Frank Lampard was unable to add to his squad due to a transfer ban this summer
- Critics, including former boss Jose Mourinho, questioned Lampard on Sunday
- Lampard is backing his Chelsea youngsters to improve as the season goes on
- Sportsmail looks at the youngsters hoping to follow in John Terry’s footsteps
With a transfer embargo preventing the signing of new faces from elsewhere, Lampard has called upon Chelsea’s lauded academy to bolster his first-team squad.
But his selection turned sour on the Premier League’s opening weekend as questions were raised about Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount in Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat by Manchester United – and European champions Liverpool are up next.
Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has vowed to play his younger squad members this season
The shirts of Reece James, Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Fikayo Tomori, Jamie Cumming, Tammy Abraham, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Andreas Christensen hang in the Chelsea dressing room at Stamford Bridge
Lampard is backing the kids to improve as the season goes on and has included as many as eight in his first-team plans – plus 18-year-old Billy Gilmour who joins the squad for Wednesday night’s UEFA Super Cup clash in Istanbul.
He joins Mount, Abraham, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Fikayo Tomori, Ruben Loftus-Cheek, Andreas Christensen and Jamie Cumming as part of the crew raised at Cobham attempting to breathe new life into this Chelsea team.
Here, Sportsmail looks at the academy products hoping to follow in John Terry’s footsteps and establish themselves.
Tomori, the 21-year-old tough-tackling centre back, is currently looked at as one of the Chelsea academy’s most-promising prospects.
He has been at the club for 14 years having first joined at Under-8 level but has only just been considered as a player who could break into the Blues first team, due to the club being hit with a two-window transfer ban.
Tomori, like much of Chelsea’s academy, has been a serial loanee – most notably at Derby last season, under Lampard, where he played in all-but three games of their campaign across three competitions.
He scored an own goal in a 3-2 defeat by his parent club in the Carabao Cup – but went on to be named as Derby’s player of the year after an outstanding campaign helped them to the brink of promotion from the Championship.
Tomori is still highly thought of and made the bench for the trip to Manchester on Sunday. He is likely to be Chelsea’s fourth-choice centre back this season.
Tomori has been at the club for 14 years having first joined at under-eight level
The creative 20-year-old midfielder, who has been hailed in some circles as the next coming of his current manager, has been at Chelsea since the age of six.
But similar to Tomori Mount has only looked like a first-team threat this season even though Gareth Southgate included him in his England senior squad while he was on loan at Derby.
Mount spent the 2017-18 season out on loan at Vitesse and impressed in Holland before his year at Derby under Lampard which saw him score 11 goals.
And despite Jose Mourinho’s criticism he looked like one of Chelsea’s brighter sparks in the 4-0 defeat at Old Trafford on Sunday.
Mount looked like one of the few good Blues players in their 4-0 opening weekend loss
Abraham, the towering 21-year-old striker, has been looked at by many as the solution to Chelsea’s striker problems after the struggles of Gonzalo Higuain and Alvaro Morata last year.
His loan spells at Bristol City and Aston Villa in the Championship, sandwiching a difficult Premier League campaign with Swansea City, have given a taster of his talents with 62 goals scored for club and country across three seasons.
The new Blues No 9 has been highly praised by Lampard and also scored against Barcelona in pre-season.
Like Mount, the Chelsea fans got a glimpse of Abraham as he started in the Blues’ 4-0 defeat by United, hitting the post before being substituted for Olivier Giroud.
Chelsea supporters will hope he can find prolific form to find them the 20 goals-a season forward they need.
Abraham has been looked at by many as the solution to Chelsea’s striker problems
Rated as one of the finest young prospects in the country, Hudson-Odoi has already earned himself a new contract worth £100,000 per week at Chelsea.
Bayern Munich were keen to take him in January and this summer but Chelsea now appear to have secured the future of the 18-year-old – thanks in part to Lampard’s influence.
Former boss Maurizio Sarri was sparing in his use of Hudson-Odoi, but the quick and tricky winger still impressed in the Europa League before earning a senior England call-up and increasingly becoming a first-team pick before injury ended his season.
With Eden Hazard gone, Hudson-Odoi could see the most notable rise in responsibilities of any Chelsea youngster this season.
Hudson-Odoi is one of the youngest of the academy graduates at the age of 18
Fast and assured, 19-year-old right back James has been at Chelsea since the age of seven and only recently joined the first team set-up.
Last season he was loaned out to Championship outfit Wigan where he played 46 games, was named their player of the season and saw one of his three goals picked as the club’s goal of the season.
The youngster has been seen as a possible replacement for Cesar Azpilicueta at right back and will hope to challenge the captain for a place.
Lampard made the point of naming James as someone who can be ‘a big player’ for Chelsea this season – but the Blues are still waiting for him to return from injury.
Last season James was loaned out to Championship Wigan, where he played 45 games
Now established as a first-team regular, Loftus-Cheek is the oldest of Chelsea’s academy graduate group at 23 and has just undergone a break-out season.
After an excellent year at Crystal Palace on loan and a call-up to the England squad for the World Cup, Sarri brought Loftus-Cheek back into the first-team picture last summer.
He scored a hat-trick against BATE Borisov in the Europa League group stage and also struck in the semi-final against Frankfurt as the highlights of an impressive season.
The rangy midfielder also found the net against Wolves, Fulham, Brighton and Watford which were crucial in Chelsea securing Champions League qualification.
However, due to his achilles injury Loftus-Cheek is unlikely to return until later in the year, when Chelsea fans will be hoping he can regain his good form.
Loftus-Cheek made his league debut in a 1-1 draw with Manchester City in January 2015
Also 23, Christensen began his youth career with Norwegian side Brondby before Chelsea snapped him up at the age of 16 in 2012.
He joined the first team in 2014, making his debut in a Capital One Cup fourth-round win at Shrewsbury Town at right back before flitting between the first-team and youth squads under Jose Mourinho.
Christensen was then sent out on a two-year loan to Borussia Monchengladbach who wanted to sign him permanently, but Chelsea refused.
He returned for the 2017-18 season and became a first-choice starter under Antonio Conte before being displaced and was then mostly used as back-up by Sarri.
Christensen also started on Sunday against Manchester United and with the departure of David Luiz to Arsenal, he will be battling Kurt Zouma for a place alongside Antonio Rudiger.
Christensen made his Chelsea debut in a 3-1 win over Sunderland in May 2015
Tall and agile, goalkeeper Cumming has also been at the club since the age of seven and is now 19 years old.
He will be Chelsea’s third-choice stopper behind Kepa Arrizabalaga and Willy Caballero this season in the absence of another senior keeper after Rob Green’s exit.
Cumming has represented England at U-17, 18 and 19 level. In the 2017-18 season he was the first-choice youth keeper as Chelsea won the domestic and European treble.
Cumming is yet to make his Premier League debut but will be Chelsea’s third-choice keeper
The 18-year-old midfielder spent his formative years at Rangers before moving to Stamford Bridge in 2017.
Gilmour, 18, signed a professional contract with the club a year later and Lampard selected him to play on the club’s pre-season trip to Ireland last month.
The Scotland U21 international has also travelled for the Super Cup clash against Liverpool on Wednesday – although he is not expected to make a big first-team impact this season.
Gilmour has travelled with the Blues squad for their Super Cup clash against Liverpool