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Terry: Lampard ‘will have an impact on young players and improve them’

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It’s not a surprise that John Terry is supporting his longtime teammate and fellow club legend Frank Lampard for the open Chelsea managerial role.

However, it is interesting why Terry thinks Lampard is right for Chelsea.

[READ: Derby County confirm Chelsea approach for Lampard]

With Lampard the bookies favorite to become the new Chelsea manager, Terry has come out in support of the former midfield great, stating that Lampard can finally fully open the pipeline between the Chelsea academy and the first team.

“For some time, perhaps only myself and Ruben Loftus-Cheek had come through the academy to become regulars and that has probably left many young players questioning their future,” Terry told the Daily Mail. “Callum Hudson-Odoi will be assured he has a big role to play at Chelsea. Having Frank in charge and the transfer ban will give young players throughout the academy belief that there is a genuine pathway into Chelsea’s first team.

“Frank and Jody have tremendous knowledge of the youth set-up. I guarantee they will watch as many Under-23 and Under-18 matches at Chelsea as possible and open potential opportunities for the academy players. In fact I think it will be an exciting time to see what can happen.”

Chelsea is currently appealing a transfer ban from FIFA for signing underage players, but even if the transfer ban is imposed this summer, the club has dozens of players out on loan that could potentially come into the first team. These include Mason Mount, who starred for Lampard at Derby County last season, and American defender Matt Miazga, though he still has a long way to go until he’s ready for regular Premier League matches.

Other players like Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori, Kurt Zouma, and Tiemoue Bakayoko could also potentially return to the club and add to the strength in depth.

Of course, some of Chelsea’s youngsters didn’t come through the academy, but with Eden Hazard gone, Hudson-Odoi and Loftus-Cheek out long term and a need for some fresh talent in attack – to go with Christian Pulisic of course, Terry believes that Lampard could trust, and empower, some young players as Chelsea looks to build on a third-place finish this year.

Abraham, Chelsea youngsters ‘buzzing’ for chance amid transfer ban

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Chelsea has never been a club known for building a first-team squad full of young players from the club’s youth academy — at least not in the Roman Abramovich era — but the Blues will have no choice other than to rely upon a handful of youngsters amid the club’s season-long transfer ban.

[ MORE: Pulisic admits hint of satisfying revenge in win over T&T ]

The prospect of regular playing time — even under such circumstances — has the likes of 21-year-old forward Tammy Abraham, among others, “buzzing” at the chance to make their mark and secure an important place at the club for the foreseeable future. There’s also the matter of hiring a new manager ahead of the 2019-20 season, which will afford every player, young or old, a clean slate — quotes from the Guardian:

“This year is the most important year for us. It is now or never. There will never be a better time to play the youngsters. Of course the transfer ban is probably not what the club wanted, but for us it is exciting. I am excited and I am sure the rest of the players are.

“There is a great chance for us young players, so we must get our heads down in training and go for it at Chelsea. I have already been talking to the club about preseason. I’m going to have a couple of weeks and then come back hitting the ground running. There is no better time for a young player to be at Chelsea. I am going to give it my all. With a new manager coming in, there is no better time to show what I am made of in preseason. I am just buzzing at the thought of the new season.”

It’s obviously a bit odd to hear a player speak so positively, and freely, about something as bleak as a transfer ban – especially when you consider the decaying state of Chelsea’s current squad — but perhaps more so is the disconnect which appears to exist between the club’s academy setup and the folks who sanction expensive transfer after expensive transfer rather than giving those young players a chance.

Abraham, who spent last season on loan at Aston Villa and scored 25 goals in the EFL Championship, sees himself, and anyone else who gets a chance due to the transfer ban, as potential agents of change for future classes of academy kids.

“Maybe it will change. Hopefully. Chelsea has always had a great academy. They have lacked playing them and taking them to the next level. You see the likes of Ruben Loftus-Cheek, who on the borderline have done that. We have excellent players still there and coming through who are still Chelsea players so fingers crossed if it all goes well it changes the mindset. I got thousands of messages from Chelsea fans on Instagram saying play him, play him. It is nice to have that behind you, knowing the supporters have your back. They believe in you as well. Clearly I was doing something right. Fingers crossed it all happens.”

England U-21’s collapse late again in defeat to Romania

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A wild final 15 minutes saw Romania come out on top of England at the U-21 Euros, sealing a disappointing end to their tournament in the group stage after just two matches.

The game was 0-0 through the first half as England looked spotty and Romania struggled to get past Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson. Questions will be asked of England boss Andy Boothroyd who controversially chose to bench sparkling Manchester City midfielder Phil Foden and the team appeared toothless without him.

Foden came on in the 57th minute but it remained scoreless until the 76th minute when it all kicked off with a bang. Inter youth product and Palermo striker George Puscas struck from the penalty spot after Everton youth product Jonjoe Kenny tripped Romanian substitute Florinel Coman in the area.

That lit the fuse and the game exploded. Leicester City’s Demari Gray equalized three minutes later off a set-piece situation, but Romania would go in front again via Ianis Hagi, son of the great Gheorghe Hagi, who deposited a low piledriver for the lead with five minutes to go, although the game was far from over. Just a minute later Tammy Abraham collected a cross onto his chest and produced a fine cut finish for another England equalizer at 2-2.

That is where England collapsed and Coman became a hero. Having already created one chance with earning the earlier penalty, the Steaua Bucuresti winger bagged a late brace, first striking on a gift from Henderson on a speculative shot from distance that squirted underneath the goalkeeper. The second was far more deserving of a late winner, a glittering volley on the bounce from well outside the box that rose and dipped into the top-left corner.

The late flop is the second of the tournament for England and ultimately becomes their legacy for the summer. They collapsed late in a 2-1 defeat to France in their group stage opener, seeing Crystal Palace full-back and rumored Manchester United target Aaron Wan-Bissaka turn home an unlikely own-goal in the 95th minute.

Boothroyd, who signed a contract extension just this summer immediately prior to the tournament, was criticized heavily for his team selection, most notably for Foden’s initial absence but also for his handling of the 90 minutes. He brought Ryan Sessegnon off the bench at halftime, only for the Fulham youngster to pull up injured 12 minutes later, requiring a substitute himself in a move that finally saw Foden enter the fray. For a team that won eight matches in qualifying for the competition, the face-first stagger marks a downright embarrassing result.

England is eliminated no matter the rest of the group stage results, given the best they can do is finish level with France who beat them head-to-head. They still have a chance to save face as they take on Croatia in their final group stage match despite their fate already sealed. Croatia was thumped in its first game against Romania 4-1 and takes on France later today needing a win to keep them a live. Should Croatia lose that, the final group stage match between the two sides would be nothing more than a consolation prize.

Championship Final preview: Aston Villa v. Derby County

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Nineteen spots in the 2019-20 Premier League season have been clinched, and Monday will see the final berth awarded to either Derby County or Aston Villa.

It’s the richest game in football, and two historic English clubs will see it as their way back to a rightful place in the top flight.

[ MORE: Everton adds Lossl ]

Aston Villa was a mainstay of the PL for the first 24 years of the league’s existence, but has spent three seasons in the Championship.

Derby County has spent seven years in the top flight across two separate spells, and twice won the top flight in the 1970s.

Separated by just two points on the table this season, fifth place Villa beat Derby decisively in both league matches.

Three different scorers marked their names in the 3-0 decision at Pride Park in November before Villa bettered the score line with a 4-0 triumph at home on March 2.

Liverpool loanee Harry Wilson has been the scoring star for Frank Lampard‘s Rams, bagging 15 goals. Fellow loanee Mason Mount of Chelsea has also been key with eight goals and five assists, while Jack Marriott and Martyn Waghorn have chipped in plenty.

Another Chelsea loanee, Tammy Abraham, is the clear threat for Villa, having potted 26 goals this season. Transfer market mainstay Jack Grealish has been in focus, too, for Dean Smith’s men. Smith is becoming just as big a star, having charged Villa up the table since taking over in October.

Monday morning’s match will change the fortunes and legacies of many players and both managers. And Lampard is already being tipped as a possible Chelsea boss.

Sarri: Pulisic can be ‘very important’ for Chelsea

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Maurizio Sarri is very happy to have Christian Pulisic at Chelsea.

[ MORE: Pulisic’s American mission ]

Whether or not the Italian coach will get to work with Pulisic next season is another matter, but Sarri was more enthusiastic about the 20-year-old USMNT playmaker this time around compared to when he spoke when the $73 million transfer was initially completed in January.

Speaking to the media ahead of Chelsea’s UEFA Europa League final against Arsenal in Baku, Azerbaijan next week, Sarri revealed he has high hopes for Pulisic.

“I spoke with him two or three months ago. Pulisic knows very well our team, our way of playing, the team-mates. He is ready to join the group,” Sarri said. “I didn’t know the deal was done when he signed but before that I told my opinion to the club. My opinion was really very positive about Christian. He is a very young player, of course, but he is very strong. I am very happy. He has the possibility to improve more. He can become a very important player for us.”

Pulisic’s style of play certainly slots in with Sarri’s philosophy, as he loves his players to have plenty of touches on the ball with quick passing and moving. Pulisic’s supreme dribbling ability will also give Chelsea an extra weapon.

The stars have somewhat aligned for Pulisic to make an instant impact at Chelsea during the 2019-20 season.

In January the situation around Eden Hazard wasn’t as clear as it is now (Hazard seems highly likely to leave for Real Madrid this summer), plus both Callum Hudson-Odoi and Ruben Loftus-Cheek have suffered serious injuries in the last few weeks and Gonzalo Higuain seems unlikely to stay at Chelsea on loan next season.

That means Pulisic, Willian, Pedro and Olivier Giroud are Chelsea’s main attackers for the start of the season and with Chelsea currently amid a transfer ban for this summer and January 2020, the USMNT star will get a chance to become a regular in the PL and Champions League for Chelsea.

Chelsea could bring back Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and several other loanees to help boost their squad, but it appears that if Sarri remains in charge, Pulisic will get a good run of games early in his Chelsea career.