The new Blues manager has called on his players to battle for starting spots next season as he goes into his preparations with a clear mind
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Frank Lampard met the first members of his Chelsea squad as they arrived at Cobham Training Centre for medical tests and a meeting with their new head coach ahead of their pre-season preparations.
The group then immediately flew out to Dublin where they will take part in their first two of their seven pre-season matches against Bohemians and St Patrick’s Athletic.
Chelsea will then fly to Japan to take on Kawasaki Frontale and Barcelona, before returning to Europe for away friendlies with Reading, Red Bull Salzburg and Borussia Mönchengladbach ahead of their opening match of the season away at Manchester United in the Premier League.
Lampard has already spoken of his desire to give youth a chance next season, as he contends with the club’s two-window transfer ban that has been imposed by FIFA. He will bring back a host of loanees including Michy Batshuayi, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Kurt Zouma who have travelled to Dublin.
Further loan stars such as Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Izzy Brown will be with the squad on Sunday or Monday, while further first-teamers are going to be brought back in stages.
Former Wigan Athletic loanee and Player of the Season Reece James is recovering well from ankle ligament damage and he is racing to be on the plane for the Japanese friendlies after already being told that the club isn’t yet looking to loan him out next season.
Lampard detailed that anyone will have a chance to break through into his team next season, including Danny Drinkwater, who didn’t play a competitive match under Maurizio Sarri last season.
“Everybody who joins up to train, and it will be staggered, will have the opportunity to show what they can do their attitude, the way they play and train in pre-season onwards,” Lampard told journalists at Stamford Bridge.
“I would be a fool to come here with ideas about I’m going to freeze anybody out, I want to get the best out of the squad. Everybody has an opportunity.
“I have no pre-conceived ideas about anybody, I have got a good knowledge of the squad but I need to see them over the next month.”
Lampard has had a busy week since returning to his former club where he fully agreed his deal on Tuesday, before coming into have meetings on Wednesday and then he was unveiled as the new Chelsea boss to the media on Thursday.
Chelsea squad in Dublin: Willy Caballero, Cesar Azpilicueta, Davide Zappacosta, Kurt Zouma, Ethan Ampadu, Danny Drinkwater, Tiemoue Bakayoko, Kenedy, Pedro, Michy Batshuayi, Lewis Baker, Kasey Palmer, Trevoh Chalobah, Dujon Sterling, Lucas Piazon, Fikayo Tomori, Jamie Cumming, Marc Guehi, Conor Gallagher, Ike Ugbo, Billy Gilmour, Ian Maatsen