No matter what people think of Frank Lampard’s coaching abilities, one thing that is beyond doubt is the Chelsea legend can spot a player.
Mason Mount is, of course, the prime example. The young midfielder made an immediate impression on Lampard after joining Derby County on a season-long loan in the summer of 2018.
From that moment on – with the Rams and then after the two returned to Chelsea a year later – the midfielder was always trusted, always given opportunities to shine no matter the stage or opposition.
Then there is Declan Rice. Lampard was desperate to bring the West Ham United star to Stamford Bridge for the best part of a year but Chelsea were unwilling to sanction a big-money move for the 22-year-old who was released by the Blues at the age of 14.
Somewhat ironically, that could change this summer with Thomas Tuchel a fan of Rice and Manchester United and Manchester City also supposedly interested in his services.
One player who Lampard did convince the Chelsea hierarchy to sign last summer, however, was Ben Chilwell. A deal worth up to £50million was agreed for the left-back who arrived from Leicester City in August.
“I obviously wanted to play for a massive club, that’s what everyone wants for their career,” Chilwell said after arriving. “But talking to Frank before I came was one of the main reasons why I wanted to come.
“He installed a lot of confidence in me, told me how much the system suits my play and seemed like a really good guy that you can talk about stuff away from football. I think that’s really important for a young player that you’ve got a manager you can talk to stuff about.”
Chilwell’s signing was not a universally popular one among the Chelsea fanbase. Many wanted the club to instead bring in the blisteringly-quick Sergio Reguilon from Real Madrid. The Spaniard would eventually go on to join Tottenham Hotspur.
Lampard knew better, however. And time has certainly proved him right for pushing so hard to secure the services of the England international.
If Mahrez turned inside, Chilwell was there. If he tried to take the longer route down the line, again the Chelsea left-back was ready to deny him. If he tried to get away, well, you get the drift by now.
Chilwell also dealt with the searing pace of Kyle Walker impeccably, with the City full-back just once able to get the better of his opposite number and England teammate.
Reputations are built or solidified on occasions such as the Champions League final. That was certainly the case for Chilwell, whose ability is no longer doubted or questioned by any Chelsea supporter. Everyone has very much come to the same conclusion as Lampard.