Lampard: Focus was always on integrating academy

One of Frank Lampard’s biggest success stories in the first season has been his ability to finally extract talent out of Chelsea’s famed academy.

He had a transfer ban which made many critics believe that he was forced to delve into the academy but the truth is that Lampard dismantled many existing first-team stars as well to create way for the academy stars.

He has now revealed it was his priority to link up the club with the academy which has lost so much potential talent over the years. 

“It was always going to be a priority and the relationships were already there,” Lampard told the latest edition of the Chelsea magazine.

“Joe [Edwards] and Jody [Morris] knew all the players, I knew the more prominent ones, and we all knew Neil Bath and Jim Fraser [from the Academy] well. It just had to be reconnected because it hadn’t been as connected in recent years.

“I wanted to know all the players, the names of the ones who were training well and deserved a chance. It’s easy to pluck a Billy Gilmour, but it’s also a case of hearing that, say, Henry Lawrence is training well – then get him over, get him training with us.

“All those little details are important and it’s brilliant, it’s what it’s all about – it shouldn’t be any other way.

“I’m certainly excited about the squad we’ve got, with the young players and if we can get a few additions for areas I feel we need. We didn’t bring in anyone in January, it didn’t work out to be right for us at the time, and last summer we couldn’t bring anyone in, so those windows are gone and we haven’t changed. So I am excited about the squad we’ve got, if we can freshen up in the right areas – we all know that.”

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