Out of the dark, into the Blue: Chelsea players likely to be given a chance under Lampard
Photo: Getty Images - Darren Walsh

Lampard was greeted by a 34-man roster on their pre-season tour of Ireland, without the inclusion of Callum Hudson-Odoi, Antonio Rudiger and Ruben Loftus-Cheek, all three continuing their injury rehabilitation. 

The current crop is formed of first team regulars from Sarri's maiden season in charge, those recalled from their various loan spells, along with a handful of academy graduates. 

Chelsea competed in four competitions during 2018/19, reaching two finals, one of which ended in Europa League glory. This forced Sarri into squad rotation to a degree, yet an unrestful proportion of Blues supporters felt some players were missing out without reason.

VAVEL have taken a look at those who may be given a lifeline under Lampard, where they were cast under Sarri's shadow.

Ross Barkley

Ask any Chelsea fan who the No.8 jersey most reminds them off, and without fail they will reply with Lampard. Infamously, the present owner of this iconic number is Ross Barkley, the second to wear it since his now-boss departed Stamford Bridge in 2014. 

It is fair to say Barkley hasn't quite lived up to expectations that entailed when pulling on such a fabled kit since his move from Everton last January. Under Sarri, he started just 29 games in all competitions, scoring five goals and assisting a further six.

Although he did not consistently perform to the levels he's capable of, not all fault can be placed upon Barkley; Sarri's predictable rotation between Barkley and Mateo Kovacic became extremely tiresome and often without impact, ensuring the Englishman rarely completed a full 90 minutes.

Barkley should be entering the prime of his career but has instead stagnated. However, there a few better mentors for the 25-year-old than Lampard to guide him towards his potential. The pair have played against and with one another, during Barkley’s time with the Toffees whilst both were called up to the World Cup in 2014. 

There are Lampard-esque qualities in Barkley: his confidence on the ball and his ability to join the attack from the midfield. The Chelsea boss must now unlock a player who can take the game by the scruff of the neck, which Barkley can do with the correct guidance. 

Danny Drinkwater

You would be amongst a strong majority if you'd forgotten Danny Drinkwater existed as a footballer, let alone a member of Chelsea's constituency. His mere 30 minutes of action during the entirety of the 2018/19 campaign would act as a rare outing for the Chelsea outcast.

His £35m move from Leicester City in 2017 was a surprise even then and it's been a downwards spiral ever since he bid farewell to the Foxes. Injury blighted his chances under Antonio Conte and he never recovered under Sarri, who did not fit him at all into his short-term plans. 

All seemed lost for the former Premier League winner, yet Lampard may offer a lifeline to Drinkwater, who is part of the pre-season training. Chelsea will battle on four fronts in the coming year and a player of Drinkwater's experience would be invaluable during the knockout competitions, a decent replacement to give others a rest.

A robust midfielder, Drinkwater won't be afraid to do the dirty work that others stray away from, a trait Lampard will adhere to and even try and install into the rest of his squad. 


Marcos Alonso deservedly had the left-back spot locked down under Conte, establishing himself as one of the best in the league. As a new Italian arrived in the dugout, that status began to slip for Alonso, allowing the emergence of Emerson.

Despite acting mainly as second fiddle to his Spanish compatriot, Emerson started several crucial games instead of Alonso, including the Carab Cup final defeat to Manchester City and more prominently, the Europa League final victory over Arsenal.

As is in the modern game, Emerson is far more comfortable going forward than he is defending and being Brazilian born, it’s understandable why he's such an effective dribbler. This will be music to Lampard's ears, as one of his main attacking weapons whilst at Derby County was right-back Jaden Bogle, who could also beat a man at pace.

Expect Alonso and Emerson to share the left-back load, yet Lampard's preference to high tempo football may nudge the latter in front of the pecking order.

Callum Hudson-Odoi 

"I am not going to say things that are pie in the sky but, with his talent, he can be central to this team, he can be central to England," was the portrayal Lampard recently gave to the BBC about Chelsea's golden child. 

If that wasn't enough evidence to prove Hudson-Odoi's worth, not much will. Unfortunately, this feeling wasn't immediately reciprocated by Sarri, realising only before departing for the Juventus job.

It was no secret the 18-year-old wanted out of his boyhood club at one stage, after handing in a transfer request amidst interest from German giants Bayern Munich. This spurred Sarri into action, allowing Hudson-Odoi game time, repaid by scoring in back-to-back European fixtures.

Hudson-Odoi continued to grow in stature, earning himself a call up to the England senior squad, before starting four consecutive league ties. An Achilles injury, which he is still recovering from, halted such a promising season, but there is no doubt he will be given the platform by Lampard to become what he told the BBC, "a world-class player". 

Ethan Ampadu 

Another that boasts a bright future, if nurtured correctly is Ethan Ampadu, who is yet to celebrate his 19th birthday.

Ampadu's five appearances in Europe and the FA Cup respectively was enough to highlight the Welshman's desire and commitment on the field, combined with a maturity beyond his youth.

His comfort in being deployed across a number of positions stands him in good stead, especially as defensive options are slim pickings.

An able replacement at centre-back, right-back or anywhere in the midfield, expect Ampadu to be deployed by Lampard where he sees fit.