“Lot of personality”- Frank Lampard praises £20m Chelsea star despite limited playing time

Frank Lampard was impressed with the performance of Carney Chukwuemeka against Manchester United

The interim Chelsea boss Frank Lampard was happy with what he saw from Carney Chukwuemeka against Manchester United on Thursday.

It was Chukwuemeka’s first start since Lampard took over the role in early April. The former Aston Villa player has struggled for regular game time in general anyway.

Since making a £20m move to Stamford Bridge last summer, the 19-year-old has played only 332 minutes of first-team football for Chelsea so far. That is quite low even for a young player.

Frank Lampard was happy with Carney Chukwuemeka's performance against Manchester United.
Frank Lampard was happy with Carney Chukwuemeka’s performance against Manchester United. (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Here’s what Lampard said when asked about the performance of Chukwuemeka (h/t Chelsea website):

“Carney did really well coming into midfield, he came in with a lot of personality. It has been one of the harder parts of my job with the numbers in the squad – the balance of going with a team you feel can win games and having time to work with the younger players who you haven’t seen before.

“Unfortunately Carney hasn’t had an opportunity from me until Thursday night but he did well and Noni [Madueke] did pretty well again.”

The England U20 international showed glimpses of what he is capable of on Thursday. Although his game time in his first season at Chelsea makes grim readings, he is still young and has a long way to go and develop. Missing out on taking part in the U20 World Cup isn’t cool because that is a sort of tournament that can bring a young player into the instant limelight and confidence.

The good news is that the incoming boss Mauricio Pochettino likes to work with top young players and mould them into superstars. He did a very good job of that at Tottenham Hotspur.

Chukwuemeka has struggled for game time in his first season at Chelsea.
Chukwuemeka has struggled for game time in his first season at Chelsea. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

So, if a player like Chukwuemeka, who can play in multiple positions across the midfield, has an eye-catching pre-season with Pochettino, then we could see the former playing a lot more from next season onwards.

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Remaining patient for the opportunities has to be the go-to mantra for the 19-year-old now. We all know and have seen glimpses of what he can do. He needs a manager who can trust him and throw him into the limelight to swim at the elite level.