Chelsea have one of the best academies in England and because of their ongoing transfer ban, Frank Lampard will have to give opportunities to some of their best home-grown talents. So, here are the five players from the Blues academy who could shine for the first team this season.
#5. Fikayo Tomori
Fikayo Tomori made his first-team debut for Chelsea on the final day of the 2015/16 season and has since played on loan for Brighton and Hove Albion, Hull City and Derby County. He played under Frank Lampard during his most recent loan spell at Derby and was also named the club’s Player of the Year at the end of the season.
Tomori, who is eligible to play for England, Nigeria and Canada at the international level, had offers to leave Chelsea this summer but Lampard was adamant that the 21-year-old should stay at Stamford Bridge.
Since Chelsea sold David Luiz on transfer deadline day, Tomori’s first-team chances have gotten enhanced. Furthermore, he also played for the Blues in the UEFA Super Cup match against Liverpool. He will get more opportunities over the course of the season as Chelsea are playing in four competitions – which means Lampard will have to rotate his backline quite often.
#4. Reece James
Reece James is the second of the four players in this list who shone in the EFL Championship last season. James made his professional debut last season while playing for Wigan Athletic and he missed only one league game during the whole season.
The right-back was named in the 2018/19 Championship Team of the Season and he also won three awards at Wigan – including the club’s Player of the Year award.
Cesar Azpilicueta struggled in Chelsea’s 4-0 defeat to Manchester United and Lampard name-dropped James after the game. The Chelsea manager said that the 19-year-old is going to be a ‘big player’ for them even though he’s yet to make his competitive debut for the club.
By the end of the season, James could take Azpilicueta’s place as Chelsea’s first-choice right-back.
#3. Tammy Abraham
Tammy Abraham made his debut for Chelsea towards the end of the 2015/16 season but he has spent the next three seasons on loan at Bristol City, Swansea City and Aston Villa.
Abraham shone in the Championship with Bristol City and Aston Villa. He scored 48 league goals in the English second division for both clubs combined in only 78 appearances and was also named in the PFA Championship Team of the Year in 2018/19.
His loan spell in the Premier League didn’t go as planned but he still scored five times for a Swansea City side that was relegated at the end of the 2017/18 season.
The 21-year-old featured in Lampard’s first two games as Chelsea manager and he has the potential to be Chelsea’s own Harry Kane.
#2. Mason Mount
Mason Mount made his debut for Chelsea against Manchester United in Lampard’s first game in charge of the club. However, he had already played under the Blues’ legend at Derby County last season.
Mount made his professional debut for Vitesse during the 2017/18 season and scored 14 goals in 39 games from midfield for the Eredivisie club. Last season, he was quite outstanding for Derby and found the back of the net 11 times in 44 appearances, although injuries kept him out of action at times.
The 20-year-old’s ability to score so many goals from midfield is reminiscent of Lampard himself and the manager seems to have a special liking for the player. Mount impressed for the Blues in the preseason and has also done well in Chelsea’s first two games of the season.
#1. Callum Hudson-Odoi
While the other four players in this list had to go out on loan and make a name for themselves in the second division of English football, Callum Hudson-Odoi made his professional debut with Chelsea last season and became a key first-team player last season before an injury ended his season prematurely.
Hudon-Odoi, who was part of England’s U-17 World Cup-winning team in 2017, was the subject of a huge bid from Bayern Munich in January 2019 even before he established himself in the Chelsea first team.
The 18-year-old winger made 28 appearances in all competitions last season and found the back of the net five times in addition to providing five more assists. His impressive breakthrough season also earned him a callup to the England senior team and he became the youngest ever English player to make his debut in a competitive match and followed it up by registering an assist in his first start.
With Eden Hazard gone, there is an opportunity for Hudson-Odoi to become Chelsea’s main creative force.