After a tour of Ireland and a few days off, Chelsea are ready for action once again as the Blues flew out to Japan on Monday. Chelsea announced the touring party for their pre-season tour of Japan, and it spoke volumes of Lampard’s plans for next season.
The Chelsea squad is as follows:
Goalkeepers: Arrizabalaga, Caballero, Cumming.
Defenders: Alonso, Azpilicueta, Christensen, David Luiz, Emerson, Tomori, Zappacosta, Zouma.
Midfielders: Barkley, Bakayoko, Drinkwater, Jorginho, Kanté, Kovacic, Mount.
Forwards: Abraham, Batshuayi, Giroud, Kenedy, Palmer, Pedro (+Pulisic). (Source: We Ain’t Got No History)
The lack of youth in the squad is very apparent from new boss Frank Lampard, who vowed to give the youngsters a chance if they impressed him. Just Mason Mount, Kasey Palmer, Fikayo Tomori and Jamie Cumming are the choice of youngsters and given Chelsea’s inconsistency last season, you would have thought more youngsters would be given the chance to impress on tour.
I can already hear you screaming: “What about Tammy Abraham?” While the 21-year-old could be classed as a youth player, the England international has enjoyed three seasons of loan spells at Bristol City and Aston Villa in the Championship and Swansea City in the Premier League. Given his experiences at the top end of English football over the last three seasons, you can hardly label the young striker as a youth player anymore, despite the lack of appearances for Chelsea’s first-team.
In goal, while Cumming looks set to be Chelsea’s third-choice keeper, after his announcement in the squad, he is likely to find himself playing for the youth team more often than not.
In the forward department, Palmer has been included, and while he is youth player, he may find chances hard to come by next season. The club are still waiting for Christian Pulisic and Willian to join up with the squad following international duty, and with the announcement of Kenedy in the squad, Palmer could well find himself at the bottom of the pecking order.
Mount and Tomori look to be the only youth players who will be afforded chances next season. Chelsea’s defence leaked 56 goals in all competitions, so to see a defender who played all but one game under the new manager Lampard at Derby County is no surprise.
Mount enjoyed a breakthrough season in Derby County’s run to the Championship playoff final, as he scored 11 goals from midfield. Given Ross Barkley was the highest-scoring midfielder at Chelsea with a mediocre five goals, it’s no surprise to see Mount introduced into the first-team squad.
The promise of youth was a big factor in Lampard being appointed Chelsea manager, especially after his stint at Derby County and the club’s ban in the transfer market. Things could change throughout the season with youth impressing Lampard, however, the initial impression is not a positive one.