Football News

Chelsea youngsters “are not ready” for the first-team, says former Blue

By Ben Green

Published: 17:30, 15 August 2019

Former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino believes the club’s home-bred youngsters “are not ready” to play against top teams this season.

Frank Lampard has already come under the microscope for leaving a number of experienced players on the bench during the Blues’ 4-0 capitulation at the hands of Manchester United on Sunday.

Are Chelsea’s youngsters ready? Five things to know…

  • Lampard has made no secret about his desire to utilise youth this season.
  • At Derby County he gave the likes of Jayden Bogle and Fikayo Tomori license to showcase their talents.
  • Against Man Utd he left N’Golo Kante, Olivier Giroud and Marcos Alonso all on the bench.
  • This prompted Jose Mourinho to hit out at Lampard for neglecting experience.
  • Cascarino recently praised Mount’s performance against Man Utd, but has now echoed the views of Mourinho following the Super Cup.

The former England international fielded Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham for the club’s Premier League opener, but drew criticism in the immediate afterglow as the west Londoners collapsed.

In response, Lampard omitted the two youngsters from his starting XI for their penalty shootout defeat to Liverpool in the Super Cup on Wednesday, and the performance has since provoked widespread praise, with Cascarino suggesting the match in Istanbul should serve as evidence that Chelsea must utilise their more senior players for important games.

In his column for The Times, he wrote: “The younger elements of the Chelsea team are not ready and last night proved that. Mason Mount and Tammy Abraham can play their part under Frank Lampard this season but when facing the best teams you need not only talent but experience.

“Chelsea looked more threatening, effective and composed against Liverpool than they did against Manchester United and that is a startling comment.

“They were beaten 4-0 by an inconsistent United and last night they were, at times, better than the European champions.

“Olivier Giroud should be leading the line, Pedro is such a clever little player and their midfield had far better balance.

“Everyone is excited about Lampard giving kids a chance, but they ignore the established stars they’ve still got.”

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‘Chelsea’s new Arjen Robben’

Among those to have been left out of the XI at Old Trafford but thrived in the 2-2 draw at the Vodafone Arena was Christian Pulisic who, alongside N’Golo Kante, were the club’s standout performers.

His slick movement and twinkle-toed feet gave Joe Gomez plenty of food for thought, and Cascarino believes his style is reminiscent to that of former Chelsea winger Arjen Robben.

He added: “I don’t remember a young Eden Hazard being as quick and direct and there’s no reason Pulisic can’t develop into a player of Hazard’s standing.

“Pulisic reminds me of Arjen Robben, you cannot stop him one-on-one because you don’t know which way he’s going to go and his pace is devastating. He will be a massive asset for Frank Lampard this season.”