Carney Chukwuemeka has learned his chances of getting minutes in Chelsea’s final two games of their Premier League campaign.
The 19-year-old has had to remain patient since joining from Aston Villa last summer. Chukwuemeka has overseen four managers – Thomas Tuchel, Graham Potter, Bruno Saltor and Frank Lampard – during his short spell at Chelsea, but has only made 12 league appearances.
Chukwuemeka was called up to the England U20s squad for the U20s World Cup earlier this month, but was eventually blocked from joining up for his country for the group stages due to midfield injury problem following N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic’s absences.
Lampard defended the decision to keep Chukwuemeka at the club, explaining that he had no choice because of numbers. A similar decision was made with Lewis Hall after Ben Chilwell and Marc Cucurella were sidelined.
Chukwuemeka came off the bench for the final nine minutes in the defeat to Manchester City on Sunday, a decision which attracted criticism after he was denied starting minutes for England.
Lampard was quizzed on Chukwuemeka’s involvement and said he has to ‘think about my job’ before putting players first, but was hopeful of offering the midfielder minutes against Man United and Newcastle this week.
“Yeah, I was a player for 20 years, it didn’t go my way every time,” responded Lampard, as quoted by Scott Trotter, when asked about the balance of keeping him with the team but feeling for him not going to the World Cup having not played much.
“When you’re a young player you have to wait your time or there are moments where you just have to understand. There’s a lot going on with Carney where he’s been here: I’m not the first manager he hasn’t got loads of minutes under. It’s been a season like that for him. I want to get him minutes because he’s not going to the World Cup but I have to think about my job.
“I thought he did well when he came on, I know it’s 10, 15 minutes. He will get more minutes I hope in these next two games coming up then he may go to a World Cup after that and next season he can be a fantastic player going forward if he does all of the things he needs to do. I liked his performance.
“I said the other day, it’s a shame he couldn’t go away in a way. He’s a Chelsea player and we need him. He understood that well.”