Frank Lampard has shown his willingness to select young players throughout his time at Chelsea, assuming they have earned the Lampard trust.
However, his team selection in the FA Cup was a clear indication that he is looking to rely on his more experienced, expensive players during this difficult spell.
By selecting such a strong team, Lampard sent a message. However, two players that haven’t featured in his first XI regularly excelled on the day.
Callum Hudson-Odoi and Billy Gilmour have both been on the periphery of Lampard’s plans so far this season. However, the time has come for both to be trusted with more minutes as Lampard looks to arrest the slide his side is on.
Callum Hudson-Odoi endured a difficult first few months to 2020. A mixture of bad luck on the pitch and misguided decisions off it had led to the youngster beginning to stagnate.
However, in 2020/21, Hudson-Odoi has impressed almost every time he’s stepped foot onto the pitch. Five goals and two assists in just 839 minutes represents a goal contribution every 119 minutes for the 20-year-old winger.
Hudson-Odoi has scored in his last two appearances, whilst impressing against both Arsenal and Aston Villa just recently. In contrast, Christian Pulisic has just two goals from 893 minutes, a goal contribution every 447 minutes.
Hudson-Odoi is outperforming Pulisic in terms of output. The American winger was Chelsea’s best player post-lockdown yet injuries and loss of form have seen Pulisic’s impact become more limited this season.
Lampard has repeatedly urged Hudson-Odoi that his out-of-possession contribution must develop. His two goals against Manchester City and Morecambe indicate a player keen to learn and improve his game. The young winger looks to be maturing and now is the time for him to cement his place. His manager must begin to trust him.
Unlike Hudson-Odoi, Billy Gilmour appears to have earned the much-coveted Lampard trust. The young Scot has had trouble with injury this campaign but his manager has spoken about Gilmour in glowing terms.
It’s easy to see why. Gilmour’s 29 passes in just 26 minutes against Manchester City highlight a player willing to take the ball no matter the opposition. The 19-year-old is fearless yet has the quality to match.
A 92% pass completion against Morecambe evidences further his desire to get on the ball and make things tick in midfield.
Gilmour is competing for minutes in an area of the team which has looked unbalanced in recent weeks. With N’Golo Kante suspended for the next league game at Fulham, it should be Gilmour entrusted with that spot in the team as opposed to Jorginho.
The Scotland international has a point to prove ahead of the upcoming European Championships. He is arguably the most talented of Scotland’s midfielders from a technical perspective. All he needs to do is to prove this at Chelsea and this can only come from Lampard trusting him to deliver.
Lampard should select these two talented youngsters against Fulham on Saturday. After a poor run of league form, something has to change for Chelsea and, much like last season, an injection of youthful energy is the way to go.
Hudson-Odoi and Gilmour are both ready. It is time to see their talents on the Premier League stage on a regular basis. The Lampard trust is there, at least he says it is. Now he has to prove it in his team selection.
Predicted line-up: Mendy; Azpilicueta, Zouma, Thiago Silva, Chilwell; Gilmour, Mount, Havertz; Ziyech, Werner, Hudson-Odoi.