Tammy Abraham’s red hot form has come as no surprise to Frank Lampard, who says he has always ‘trusted’ the Chelsea youngster.
Abraham thrust himself further into the spotlight with a hat-trick at Wolves which put him joint top of the Premier League goalscoring charts alongside Manchester City’s Sergio Aguero, with Lampard insisting he can get better and better.
“I never had clear expectations for him apart from the fact that I believed in him and trusted him,” Lampard said on Monday. “He is in a good place and can improve even more.
“I know a lot was made of the (transfer) ban giving opportunities for young players. But I thought now was his time.”
As for the possibility of England missing out on Abraham should he opt to play for Nigeria, Lampard added: “That’s not a question for me.
“He has put himself in a bracket by being a top scorer in England. It is one for Gareth [Southgate] but it is clear Tammy will be wanted.”
Ahead of Tuesday night’s Champions League opener against Valencia, Lampard also discussed his pride at making his European managerial debut, the club’s target in this year’s competition and the latest injury news.
Here’s everything he had to say about all of that, plus more…
Will Valencia be more dangerous because of the ongoing turmoil at the club?
“I am aware of what is going on. At the same time, it doesn’t affect our and my approach. We are going up against a team of fantastic quality.
“Every moment is different, but it can make a team tighter on the pitch. We are certainly ready for a team on the pitch. You need to know the details, so I won’t go into that.
What is the target for this year’s Champions League?
“I think the target is to qualify in the group; it’s a tough group, but I think we have talent that can blossom in the Champions League. There are two parts, pre-Christmas and if you get through then post-Christmas, but I know the dangers of the group.”
“Toni [Rudiger] is injured. He aggravated a small groin problem [against Wolves], he will have a scan.
“[Reece] James, [Callum] Hudson-Odoi and [N’Golo] Kante are fit, but not match fit. They might have another game in the Under-23s… N’Golo a bit more time. Everyone else is fit.”
Leading Chelsea in Europe for the first time?
“I will be proud to do it. I had some incredible nights in the Champions League, and some bad ones. It’s the ultimate in club football.
“There is something about Stamford Bridge, Champions League football and that music. I will be proud to do it.”
Have you spoken with the club’s youngsters about the difference playing in the Champions League?
“I haven’t spoken to them in detail about it. It is different, the main thing is that the concentration levels throughout the game have to be spot on. The different level can surprise you. It will be that focus, will be the main point.”