Sunday 15


Duo give Lampard a selection lift

20th August 2019, 12:07 by Craig Smithson

Antonio Rudiger returned from injury and Michy Batshuayi scored a brace for Chelsea's U23s to give Frank Lampard a selection boost.

The development squad hosted Liverpool's youngsters in their first match of the new season at Stamford Bridge and Lampard, who was in attendance, will have been heartened to see central defensive option, Rudiger, back on the pitch for the full 90 minutes and Batshuayi impressing up front.

And, while the overall performance and three points, sealed with a third goal from Tino Anjorin, was a reason for celebration, the sight of two potential key performers impressing will be a timely lift for Lampard.

Germany international, Rudiger, was a regular feature under Maurizio Sarri last season, but he missed the final five games of the campaign after sustaining a knee problem in the Blues 1-1 draw with Manchester United at the end of April.

The 26-year-old was forced to undergo surgery on the problem and, while he made good progress in his rehabilitation over the summer, he fell short in his efforts to be fit for the season-opening defeat at Manchester United on August 11.

Rudiger also missed the Super Cup clash against Liverpool and Sunday's 1-1 Premier League draw against Leicester, but he will almost certainly be in Lampard's thinking ahead of the game against Norwich City at Carrow Road this weekend.

Meanwhile, Batshuayi further staked his claim to challenge for a first-team place with his two goals in the Premier League 2 fixture.

The 25-year-old Belgium international has struggled to settle at Stamford Bridge since his €40million arrival from Marseille in the summer of 2016 and has since spent time on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace, where he managed five goals in 11 Premier League games in the second half of last season

Batshuayi has yet to feature in the first team so far this season, while he has also been linked with a move to Italian side Roma ahead of their transfer window closing on September 2.

Olivier Giroud and Tammy Abraham are currently ahead of him in the pecking order to date, but Lampard has previously suggested that he remains a part of his plans and his display on Monday night could see him involved in some capacity against the Canaries.

This article originated on sportinastorm.com

Craig Smithson is a journalist with over two decades of experience at the keyboard. A life-long Middlesbrough fan, Craig has an in-depth knowledge of all football and is also a keen fan of boxing amongst other sports.

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