Rudiger and Hudson-Odoi could leave as Lampard eyes final squad
Frank Lampard has not ruled out either Antonio Rudiger or Callum Hudson-Odoi leaving Chelsea before the transfer window shuts.
The Chelsea head coach confirmed that Hudson-Odoi would play in tonight’s Carabao Cup tie against Barnsley but, with Thiago Silva in line to make his debut, along with left-back Ben Chilwell, and during which time he was told he would not play football again. He still finds the memory painful, but credits his successful career and determination to play for so long to overcoming that gloomy prediction.
“That was one of the worst experiences in my life,” said Silva. “You have a dream as a child to be playing as a professional footballer and when I got TB it seemed that the dream would be over.
“Thank God that I had the strength to overcome it and get well. It is difficult to talk about it because it brings back these memories. I remember my last day in the hospital. The doctor told me that I had not been cured and that I needed an operation on my lung, and that my football career would be over.
“But thank God, and thanks to the specialist, little by little, I got better. Then, little by little, with dedication, I managed to play football. It is difficult.
“Definitely, it is something not many people have gone through in their lives and a lot of people have not recovered from a similar illness.
So, I think about it a lot at these moments – what I have been through. Thankfully I had the strength to overcome it.
“I feel very grateful to my family and my wife – at the time she was my girlfriend, just 17 – who was
Fikayo Tomori pushing for a start, centre-half Rudiger faces missing out for a third game in succession.
Asked directly whether either Rudiger or Hudson-Odoi could leave, Lampard said: “I’m going to skirt around that question. It remains to be seen. We’re not in a period where the transfer window or market is acting like it has done in recent years in terms of how players move or what level they move at.
“The competitive games have just started. My priority will always be making sure I maintain and keep the strongest squad I can for this club. But after that, of course, the individual conversations will happen.
“I will try to make sure I go into the season, once the window shuts, with the squad that I feel is competitive in a healthy way.”
Whatever Lampard and Chelsea decide about Rudiger’s future could have an impact on what happens with Tomori, with Everton hoping to land him on a season-long loan.
With Edouard Mendy joining from Rennes after a medical yesterday, Lampard now has three goalkeepers, three left-backs, five centre-backs, three strikers and a host of midfielders in his squad.
On the subject of deciding who can leave, Lampard said: “There are decisions for me to take, for the club to make and for the players themselves to make. That’s the situation now.”
Injuries to Christian Pulisic and Hakim Ziyech mean Lampard wants to see winger Hudson-Odoi stake his claim against Championship club Barnsley.
“We know in a Premier League squad and the number of games we’re going to play, we need competition in those areas, backups in very supportive and gave me the strength to get over it so that I was able then to chase my dreams. Now I can say today that I am a champion, not just in football, but also in life.” Silva is taking lessons to learn English and does not see the language barrier as an obstacle to him offering the leadership that Chelsea’s defence has so badly needed.
“In relation to not speaking English, it’s going to be difficult, it always is with a new language, but you are speaking to someone who speaks Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese,” said Silva. “The tendency when you learn some languages, others come easier. “I am going to learn English as quickly as possible. It’s quite uncomfortable for me, being here, giving this interview with someone else interpreting for me, so I would like to give interviews in English soon.
“With regard to leadership, anyone who has played football knows a little about communication, knows it’s a mix, it’s a similar language so I’m looking at the basic terms and words – tracking back, changing sides – you prioritise the important words and focus. “The other players speak a lot of other languages as well and the players that we have are of an incredibly high, technical quality and can differentiate intelligence, which is essential in football.” Having won a Serie A title at AC Milan and seven Ligue 1 titles at PSG, Silva made his Stamford Bridge ambition clear by saying: “Little by little, we will do great things for Chelsea.” those areas and players competing to make that position their own,” Lampard said.
“That’s where Callum is at and that’s why I keep saying he needs to train, he needs to show in training every day. And when he gets his opportunity in games, which he will have against Barnsley, he has to show in every minute, on and off the ball, what he can do for the team.
“He’s had an early breakthrough in his career because of his talent, he’s had an injury and now I want to see him flourish again.”
New beginnings: Thiago Silva is looking forward to sharing the skills he honed during eight successful years at Paris St-Germain