Chelsea manager Frank Lampard said he issued a warning to the young players about the competition for starting spots in the team.

The Blues legend has been regarded as something of a saviour of Chelsea’s youth setup.

Having given more senior debuts to academy graduates than any previous manager, the fans see what Lampard has been doing has helped build the bridge from the academy to the first-team.

However, speaking to a NHS doctor in a video call, Lampard insisted he has not been playing the likes of Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount for the sake of it.

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He said: “That’s down to the players. Jody [Morris], Joe [Edwards], my coach staff, and I, we trust in them and we know them really well.

“At the start of the season, I knew that they would have to have more minutes because of the [transfer] ban but there would also be competitions around them.

“So it was not the case of, ‘Mason, you’re going to play 40 games this season’ or ‘Tammy, you too’.

“Because it was ‘Tammy, you’re going to go up against [Olivier] Giroud and [Michy] Batshuayi’, ‘Mason, you’re going to go up against Ross Barkley, [Mateo] Kovacic and [N’Golo] Kante in midfield.

“Yes, I showed trust in them but they actually delivered.”

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Abraham has repaid Lampard’s trust with 13 goals from 25 Premier League appearances this season.

Meanwhile, Mount has had the joint-second most goal involvements (10 – five goals and five assists) in the league, just below the striker.

The pair are among the best performers at Chelsea this season and Abraham was even named Premier League and Young Player of the Year at the London Football Awards.

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