Chelsea youth product Fikayo Tomori has been making a name for himself in his breakthrough season at Premier League this season.
While Lampard has not been hesitant to give minutes to the young centre-back, but given the club of Chelsea stature, they are always looking in the market to better their squad. However, the 22-year-old English defender is not unfazed by the possible incoming competition to his position. On the contrary, he believes that competition will only make the squad better.
Having coached Tomori last season at Derby, Lampard knew the qualities that he can bring to the squad. However, Kurt Zouma, Andreas Christensen and the injured Antonio Rüdiger were considered to be ahead of him in the pecking order for the position. Tomori’s opportunity to start a Premier League match came in the 4th game of the season against Sheffield United. Since then, he has gone on to start 15 games in the league 4 in the Champions League and 2 in the FA cup. He has even managed to appear for the English national team since the breakthrough at the club level.
Speaking to Chelsea’s official website, Tomori explained that he wanted to test himself in the Premier League and show that he could play at this level.
It was just about me feeling like I belonged and that I could play at this level. I had spent two-and-a-half years in the Championship and with Derby last season I managed to win Player of the Year and get to Wembley for the play-off final so I knew I’d had a good season.
I wanted to challenge myself at the next level, which was the Premier League. I wanted to do it for Chelsea, the club that I’ve been at since I was eight; a club that’s won the Champions League, the Premier League, FA Cups, everything.
They won the Europa League the previous season so being able to come into that team and show myself, show the manager and the fans and my team-mates, show everyone that I could play at that level, was really important.
I managed to do that in those early games and showcase what I could do and I’ve managed to carry that through. Now, it’s just about trying to maintain that level, not drop below it and keep on improving it.
While the gaffer has stressed that he is ready to give minutes to players who show they are capable, regardless of their age. Tomori got the opportunity in this way, regardless of the fact that he is the youngest among the four centre-back options for Chelsea. However, for the same reason, someone might take his chances, whether from the squad members or from probable incoming transfers. Tomori is well aware of the situation and even looking forward to more competition, which he believes will bring the best out of players.
Having competition helps the team to improve because everyone wants to play. You know if you want to get in the team then you have to better than the person who’s got the shirt at that time so you have to take it from them.
Individually, it spurs you on but then it also makes the team better because everyone is going to be firing on all cylinders trying to get into the team. When you do get your spot, you have to play well to keep your place so I think the fact that there is that friendly competition means everybody knows you have to be on your game.
If you train well, you can get in the team and if you play well then you’ll stay in the team. Having that breeds this friendly, competitive nature and spirit that we have and it can only be a positive thing.