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Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has confirmed Callum Hudson-Odoi and Reece James will be in the squad for the home game against Brighton this weekend.
Four Chelsea youngsters Reece James, Marc Guehi, Tino Anjorin and Ian Maatsen – all made their debut in the 7-1 win over Grimsby Town on Wednesday, while Billy Gilmour only featured for the second time having come in as a substitute in the 2-2 draw with Sheffield United.
Another Chelsea youngster Hudson-Odoi was back in the team after five months out injured. Lampard indeed has a dearth of quality young players in the team, when you consider the fact that Mason Mount, Fikayo Tomori and Tammy Abraham were all unused substitutes in the game.
“Yeah they are in the squad, they performed well the other day,” said Lampard about the duo.
“Delighted for Reece to get his first goal and Callum to get his goal.
“They still have improvement they are young players but they’ve shown the quality they have.
“Reece because he’s been away it’s good for the home fans to see him, we know what Callum can do.
“Now they are back fit they are pushing.”
Lampard however revealed that Hudson-Odoi might not play a huge role in tomorrow’s game as he’s only just returning from a long-term injury.
Lampard said: “I will be careful with Callum considering the type of injury he had, but that’s not to say he can’t play a major part in tomorrow’s game, or a slightly lesser one. I will have to see and pick the team on its merits with a bit of Callum’s injury situation in my mind.”
Lampard has hailed the quality of youngsters coming through the Chelsea academy, and hailed the staff at work as well.
“The fact we’re seeing the numbers of them in the first team speaks for itself,” the Blues boss said at his press conference today.
“It’s a nice sign, it feels nice, we’re all happy at the club. They all seem comfortable, but there will be lots of things for them to learn fast. They’re confident lads, good players, they’ve been brought up the right way in a footballing sense and a life sense. They have every base needed but now it’s up to them.
“As always with these things, even though the step into the first team feels like the hard one, it’s actually the easiest one. For me now the next step for them is sustaining, improving, and really showing at this level you are players capable of taking Chelsea to where we want to be.”
He went on: “A huge part of my job is to work with the players, not just tactically, but in their minds. Of course with the younger players you want to pass on more knowledge, help, and be there for them in whatever way.
“Sometimes it’s being tough. That’s my job to sense the right moment. I try and do that as much as I can. I want the players to know that’s there. In many ways, I am only as strong as the coaching staff we have.
“Neil Bath and Jim Fraser in the Academy have got a lot of recognition this week which has been a long time coming, because their work has been going on for a lot of years. The good ethics of these players coming through is a huge credit to them. Now myself and us as staff have to continue that good work at this level.”