Sunday People

We had to keep Carney

- By Tom Hopkinson

FRANK LAMPARD has defended Chelsea’s decision to pull Carney Chukwuemek­a out of England’s Under-20s World Cup squad – despite the fact he has barely played for the Blues this season.

The 19-year-old had been selected as part of Ian Foster’s group for the tournament in Argentina and was due to jet out with the rest of the Young Lions on Tuesday.

However, injuries to N’golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic forced Lampard and Chelsea to block the midfielder’s departure, even though he would have gained valuable experience and playing time from the trip.

Lampard, whose side have three games left – against Manchester City today, Manchester United on Thursday and Newcastle next Sunday – said: “He’s a Chelsea player and we have injuries in that area.

“One of the situations with Carney is that he has come into a club, it was a big move for him and this season he hasn’t managed to get so many minutes.

“But hopefully, there’s an opportunit­y in these three games for him. He’s our player, and where we have lost players, we need him to stay.

“Also, there’s a possibilit­y he can join up at the end of the season, if the team get through to the next stages, so that might mean the best of both worlds.

“But he is our player and we had to make that decision.

“I felt a bit for Carney, he was keen to go, but at the same time what happened meant he had to stay.”

England cannot insist Chukwuemek­a – who has been limited largely to substitute appearance­s since joining from Aston Villa – joins up given the tournament is being held outside of an internatio­nal window.

It is a blow for Foster, as the fact Chukwuemek­a isn’t injured means he cannot call up a replacemen­t.

 ?? ?? BLOCKED: Chukwuemek­a
BLOCKED: Chukwuemek­a

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