Frank Lampard has pledged to ignore any “noise” around omitting key players when rotating his talent-laden Chelsea squad.
Lampard revealed his difficulties in leaving out Callum Hudson-Odoi from his Chelsea squad for Sunday’s goalless draw against Tottenham.
Hudson-Odoi had fired a fine goal in the 2-1 Champions League win at Rennes and continues to be publicly courted by long-term suitors Bayern Munich.
Blues boss Lampard took the rare step of speaking personally to Hudson-Odoi on the reasons for his Tottenham omission, and continues to believes the 20-year-old has a hugely fruitful long-term Stamford Bridge future.
“In my squad I have to leave out four or five players per game,” said Lampard, confirming Hudson-Odoi will feature in Wednesday’s Champions League trip to Sevilla.
“If I speak about all the permutations of all of them and considered the risk of it then I wouldn’t be able to make a decision or do the job.
“I am aware of Callum and where he is at. He took it very well (missing Tottenham) and it is not an easy conversation to have because all players want to play, I expect that.
“He will get his opportunities. He will get minutes tomorrow.
“It is up to him to show when he plays that he deserves to start because there is competition in that area. That’s the reality of playing for Chelsea.
“I am not worried about the noise around it or the permutations of what not being in the squad will be down the line.
“It was difficult to leave him out against Tottenham. “I did speak to him personally. I want him to understand where he’s at at the minute, which is that he’s getting better.
“There will be times when other players will have to sit out, and that conversation will have to be with others players.
“I have to be straight and honest with the players to try and keep them positive and working in the right direction.
“Hopefully with Callum I have got that. His reaction was great and in training today has been great and it will show when he plays.”
Hudson-Odoi’s rapid early progress through Chelsea’s ranks was stymied by a debilitating torn Achilles tendon, but the England forward is now inching back to his very best.
Lampard believes the blossoming winger has hundreds of Chelsea games ahead of him, but also conceded he understands the frustrations of those not starting every week this term.
“I’ve spoken about Callum at different times since I’ve been in the job, and his training and attitude at the minute is bang-on, his work ethic in training has been great,” said Lampard.
“And that’s reflected in scoring against Rennes, coming on and doing well against Newcastle, and I thought he was bright when he went away with the England Under-21s.
“Callum’s early career, he got into the team with a lot of talk around him in the year before I came.
“Then he got a really bad injury and a big part of last season, even this season, he was feeling the injury a little bit.
“He is still a young man so unfortunately for him, I have to see the bigger picture. It is unfortunate he is not always part of the squad but there are hundreds of games ahead of him and progressions to make.
“He will have a big impact with his talent, as long as he has that hard work, which he is showing at the minute.
“In the short term, he might not like it but then I have to look at who else I take out of the squad.
“Another day it might be someone else so there is part of my job and I said it at the start of the season to the players.
“Most of the big teams in the Premier League have big squads. It has to be seen as a strength not a weakness.”
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