Michy Batshuayi may not have kicked a ball in the opening two competitive games of the season, but he should take encouragement from comments by Chelsea manager Frank Lampard and heed his advice.
The Belgian centre-forward is back at Stamford Bridge for the 2019/20 campaign, after loan spells out at Valencia and Crystal Palace last season.
He is in a three-horse race alongside teammates Tammy Abraham and Olivier Giroud for the Blues centre-forward role.
Batshuayi wasn’t included in the match day squad for the opening day Premier League defeat to Manchester United and was an unused substitute against Liverpool in the UEFA Super Cup final defeat on penalties.
The 25-year-old has so far watched promising talent Abraham and the experienced Giroud get the nod ahead of him.
But Lampard has explained that he’s still very much set for a role in the Chelsea squad this season and that his chance will come.
“The future is Michy is here as one of our strikers and it’s important for him because we know we have three strikers, but there will be opportunities for him,” Lampard said in his pre-match press conference ahead of Leicester.
“With Michy it’s an important thing that he trains at a top, top level everyday, get himself absolutely fit to play the way I want my strikers to play, which will be constant movement on and off the ball for us. He is very much our player and competing with Tammy and Oli for that space.”
Lampard’s advised Batshuayi to continue working hard in training and it’s important that he strives to impress off the field.
He may need to adapt his game slightly with more work off the ball, but what won’t change is that he’s clinal around the penalty area and will surely get minutes due to the sheer amount of fixtures Chelsea will play across domestic and European competitions.
Batshuayi has a decent record of 19 goals in just 53 games for the Blues and fans must not forget he helped the club win the Premier League in the 2016/17 campaign.
His absence at the start of the season suggests he may have to be patient, but Lampard has offered some kind words and he shouldn’t give up hope yet at this early stage.
Neither Abraham or Giroud are outstanding candidates to be the first-choice striker, so Batshuayi needs to grab his chance when it comes and he may still have a key role to play this season.