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Abraham excited: Why Lampard ideal for Chelsea kids (but it's no revolution)

COMMENT: Tammy Abraham's excited. As are many of his young teammates. This is their big chance. With a transfer ban. And a new manager. This season offers Chelsea's kids an opportunity like no other...

And strengthening their case will be the new coaching team about to be installed. For all the complaints from Derby County, Abraham wasn't shy over the weekend. The striker declaring what we all know: Frank Lampard will be his next manager.

"I believe in myself and there is no better guy to play under as well. He's someone you have grown up watching and has been at Chelsea forever," said Abraham, before enjoying a little dig at the Rams after his role in Aston Villa's promotion last season.

"Like I say, he knows about me as well - I played against his team in the play-off final!"

Lampard does know of Abraham. But more importantly Lampard's No2 at Derby, Jody Morris, knows Abraham - and every single one of those teammates whom progressed with him through the youth system - inside out.

Four years Morris was involved in Chelsea's academy. The final two as U18 coach before being convinced by Lampard to join him at Pride Park last summer. Morris actually signing off at the time a Quadruple winner with his young Blues team.

It was Morris, not Lampard, who was the biggest influence on Derby's signing of Blues pair Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori a year ago. But credit the manager. It was Lampard's work which saw Mount break into the England squad as a Championship player. Just as he deserves recognition for helping Tomori produce the best 12 months of his career. The Calgary-born England U21 fullback returning to Chelsea with Derby's Player of the Year gong.

But for Abraham's young peers, it will be the presence of Lampard's No2 which offers them hope.

As we said, with Morris an ally. A real champion for the club's young players. Next season offers the likes of Abraham an opportunity like no other. But it has to be said, this will be no revolution. Simply evolution. Progress from what was laid down by Maurizio Sarri last season.

It'll all be washed away amid the excitement of Lampard's homecoming. But it should be remembered by Blues fans. Noted. That it was Sarri who had at three academy graduates on the pitch during their late run to a third place finish. Andreas Christensen, Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi all given their chance by the Italian last season.

For all the jibes about his reluctance to employ youth. To go beyond a set squad of 12-14 players. As his old president at Napoli, Aurelio de Laurentiis, would have us believe. Sarri did lay some pretty significant foundations for Lampard and Morris to build upon. Sarri made them work hard for it. As he should. And all three proved themselves worthy of the shirt.

For Lampard, there'll be no guessing game about this young Blues trio. Sarri made sure of that. He inherits three Blues graduates he knows he can immediately count on.

As we say, it's evolution not revolution. Which it should be noted is what is also occurring off the pitch.

Petr Cech's return is a move worth celebrating. The just retired goalkeeper returning from Arsenal to take up a role with the title of 'technical and performance advisor'. Which is a fancy way of saying 'apprentice'. Essentially, Cech will be learning the ropes of what is required to be a technical director with the aim of eventually filling the void left by Michael Emenalo 18 months ago.

Along with the popular Cech, Claude Makelele has also been mentioned as a potential front office addition. Couple that with Lampard and Morris' return and it does seem like an ex-players' shake-up is running through the club.

But this approach has been ongoing for some time. Yes, we haven't seen ex-Blues in positions of manager or director. But Chelsea, to the board's credit, have been on the front foot in bringing back players to fill roles of responsibility. Eddie Newton, Tore Andre Flo and Paulo Ferreira have all been involved in Chelsea's massive loan player program. Newton also has jumped in and out of coaching at youth level.

The arrival of Lampard and Morris will simply swell the ranks of ex-players in positions of responsibility even further. And it's that continuity which can only be of benefit to those players coming through the Blues system.

As Abraham says, "There is no better time for a young player to be at Chelsea".

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Chris Beattie
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