Fikayo Tomori has earned the trust of Frank Lampard by displaying a “brilliant” attitude, the Chelsea head coach said ahead of the young defender’s toughest Premier League test to date.
Chelsea entertain the division’s only unbeaten team on Sunday as Liverpool make the trip to Stamford Bridge in a repeat of last month’s UEFA Super Cup, which the European champions won on penalties.
Tomori featured as a substitute on that occasion but is now set to earn a third successive top-flight start after moving quickly through the queue of centre-backs.
Lampard became convinced of the 21-year-old’s readiness for the Premier League during their time together at Derby County and insisted he would have been part of the first-team plans at Chelsea even if David Luiz had not left for Arsenal.
“The real credit of Fikayo is the way that he has approached it all,” Lampard told reporters.
“His mentality from when he came to Derby to today has been brilliant, from beginning to end. That is why he is improving.
“I just trust in him. I trust in him as a player, the way that he trains every day, it’s the kind of thing I want to see daily and the way he plays.
“Of course he is a young player and like all young players there are moments where he can improve and that’s something he constantly needs to work on.
“I trust in him, hence I wanted him as part of the squad. That wouldn’t have mattered who might have gone or not. My idea when I came here was to keep Fik part of the squad anyway because I trust him to come and play here.
“Where better a place to play than the club he has come through at?”
Chelsea v Liverpool!
— Chelsea FC (@ChelseaFC) September 22, 2019
Tomori marked his second Premier League start with a stunning long-range goal in last weekend’s 5-2 triumph at Wolves.
Another academy product, Tammy Abraham, starred with a sparkling hat-trick, improving his goal haul to seven for the season.
The striker will hope to prove he can have the same impact against a genuine title contender, having failed to convert the final spot-kick of the shoot-out loss to Liverpool in Istanbul.
Lampard said: “It’s normal that the top strikers are judged on goals and the next level of that is do you score goals against the big teams?
“I understand that because against someone like [Virgil] van Dijk, a defence like Liverpool’s and a team like Liverpool, maybe it’s harder to create chances. So what can you do individually to try and create them and how clinical can you be after that?
“Tammy has shown great signs this season but it will be another test on the way.”
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