Significant change at Chelsea made by Frank Lampard can lead to huge midfield boost
When Frank Lampard was sacked as Chelsea manager in early 2021, there was largely an acceptance that it was the right move, but one that still left many fans gutted.
The idea of the club’s greatest player becoming a successful manager at Stamford Bridge was incredibly appealing, but as his second season in charge boomed it became clear that he was not ready to deliver the quick success that Roman Abramovich is used to it.
Lampard continues to wait for his next opportunity, biding his time at what appears to be a pivotal milestone in the former midfielder’s post-playing career.
Back at the bridge, however, its impact is still felt. When appointed in the summer of 2019, Chelsea, and in particular their academy, had a reputation.
Graduated players were unlikely to succeed at the first-team level. Instead, endless loan deals followed, sometimes as many as eight or nine, before they were eventually taken over by another club.
Todd Kane is just a player to have experienced this. The defender left Chelsea for good in 2019 and told The Sun two years later that his advice to members of the Blues academy would simply be to “leave”.
Lampard, however, turned to the young. Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori have become regulars on the first team in 2019-2020. Circumstances have strained the manager’s hand somewhat, with Chelsea facing a two-window transfer ban, but the effect has been positive.
In south London, dynamic midfielder Conor Gallagher was just starting his loan with League One side Charlton Athletic. It was the first of what may have previously been a relentless period in the loan system, but Mount et al’s success back at his parent club inspired him.
“Obviously, with Jody Morris being our former manager with the Under-18s and Frank trusting young players like Mason and Tammy, it gives all of Chelsea’s youngsters hope that they can now be part of the first team one day. ” he said at a press conference in September 2019.
“When Mason and Tammy scored the other week I know it gave everyone a boost and it just shows that if you play against the youngsters they can do well.
“Mason and Tammy are obviously great players and they prove themselves in the first team, but there are also great players who are ready to prove themselves.
“It makes them work even harder to impress the manager and his coaches.”
Reece James, Andreas Christensen and Trevoh Chalobah have joined Mount to regularly impress in the Blues’ first team under Thomas Tuchel, and it is clear that the continued success of his fellow academy graduates continues to inspire Gallagher.
This season, the 21-year-old has been loaned to Crystal Palace. In the first six games of the Premier League campaign he has proven to be more than ready for the bigger stage, with two goals in a draw against West Ham and a huge derby against Brighton.
This performance against Graham Potter’s side drew praise from Thierry Henry and led Chelsea fans to demand that he return to play a role at the club when his loan ended.
Tuchel seems open to the idea of Gallagher’s return as well.
“It’s not just my decision, it’s his responsibility to show up and that’s what he does,” said the German after his appointment last season, referring to Gallagher’s chances of breaking through in the first team.
The midfielder has started this season as a man obsessed with breaking into the Chelsea squad and as a man knowing it is a real possibility.
It marks a significant change in ambition from the pre-Lampard era.
“I would tell any young boy to move on if anyone is interested in you because if you’re good enough to play for someone else you better take this opportunity.” Kane said of his time in the loan system. before Lampard’s arrival.
Gallagher is the embodiment of a new belief.