Frank Lampard has outlined Lewis Hall’s chances of starting for Chelsea against Nottingham Forest.
The 18-year-old has made eight appearances for the first Chelsea first-team this season, five of which have come in the Premier League, and now could get a chance in the final four games due to injuries in the team.
Ben Chilwell (hamstring) and Marc Cucurella (thigh) are both currently sidelined and their availability between now and the end of the season is unknown, which could now see Hall earn his chance to collect some more minutes and experience.
After Chilwell went off injured last weekend against Bournemouth, Hall was snubbed and Cesar Azpilicueta was preferred to come on down on the south coast.
Hall was also wanted by the England team for selection for the U20 World Cup this month, but Chelsea denied the request due to needing Hall for the remaining four games of the season.
Lampard confirmed it was his decision to block Hall’s call-up for his country, but revealed he is in contention to start against Nottingham Forest at Stamford Bridge on Saturday afternoon after being impressed with him in training.
“It’s my decision that he needs to stay with us for the four games,” revealed the 44-year-old. “We’ve got injuries with both of our left-backs who have been playing with us this season. It leaves us where we need and want Lewis.”
“Lewis has a chance,” the interim Chelsea boss added. “I was tempted to put him on last week, but with the nature of the game I felt the experience of Azpi was more suitable at that point. I will view this game on its merits. I’ve been really impressed with his training.
“He’s a really good, really talented player. If anything, if there is one thing, he needs to come out of himself that bit more because he should really trust how good he is and feel at home with the group – I think he does feel that.
“Games I’ve watched from afar, I didn’t get to work with him before because he was younger, I have been really impressed. He hasn’t dampened that at all, the opposite. He’s in the running for the last four games to be involved.”
Lampard believes Hall will be raring to grasp the opportunity should it be handed to him against Steve Cooper’s side in the capital after revealing the versatile youngster took the decision well to block his England involvement.
“He takes things the same,” responded Lampard on Hall’s reaction to the decision. “A straight face. He would’ve wanted to play for his country, to be honoured to represent. Normal, but a good thing. But also, he’s come through this academy and will be desperate for opportunity and that’s what I sensed from him. He did it right on both sides. He would’ve been happy to go, but now he’s happy to hopefully have some opportunity in these last few games.”
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