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19-Sep-2020, 04:33 am

'I don’t know if there is any truth' - Chelsea boss Lampard tight-lipped on Hudson-Odoi transfer rumours

Callum Hudson-Odoi Bayern Munich GFX

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampardhas remained silent on rumours linking winger Callum Hudson-Odoi with a move away from the club.

Indeed, since the return of football after the coronavirus break,Hudson-Odoihas started onlyone game and hasaccumulated a total ofjust 203 minutes.

Lampardcouldn't confirm or deny therumourslinking the 19-year-old with a move away but insists that his team selections are driven by training performance and that he doesn't havefavouritesin the squad.

“I’ve got no idea; I’ve not got anything. I don’t know if there is any truth on it, so not much to say I suppose,”Lampardsaidon a Zoom video press conference aboutHudson-Odoi, whom Bayerntried to sign 18months ago.

"I’d be surprised if any player is not disappointed when they don’t play games. I’d be very surprised by that. WithCallum, the young player he is, he has to absolutely focus on the work he puts in on the training ground day in, day out.

"I’ve said it now quite a few times. When I select a team, I have to think about how players trained, how they play within the team, how we work on the ball and, just as much, how we work off the ball. I have nofavouriteshere; I don’t lean on people because I like them.

"I lean on people because I want people to be successful, which, in turn, will hopefully make everybody here happy.Callumis a young developing player and a lot of talk has come his way because of the way hiscareer has gone at a young age.

"The facts remain the same for all young players in the squad, they have to work every day with the idea to put themselves in the frame to start.”

Chelsea are hoping to offload several players before the transfer window butHudson-Odoiisn't understood to be one of them as the teenager still has four more years on his current contract.

This season, more than ever, will see clubs manage a relentless schedule as the coronavirus pandemic caused a late start to the Premier League season.

CesarAzpilicuetawas left out for Chelsea's first match of the season, along with the likes of Tammy Abraham, OlivierGiroud, AntonioRudigerand Ross Barkley, butLampardwas keen to state that his captain is still the leader in the dressing room.

"Yes, absolutelyAzpiis club captain this season," he added. "He’s done a great job of it. Since I’ve been in the role, he’s been a huge help to me, how’s he’s handled himself on and off the pitch, how much he feels for the club, how much he communicates within the squad.

"We can all seethe quality of Reece James and the competition I have in that right-back position, butAzpi’sprofessionalism means he’s going to be as important for us this year as he always is. He is officially club captain."

Lampard also gave an insight into how carefully Chelsea looked atnew signingTimoWerner, saying the forward is "very low maintenance" despite his star status.

The 24-year-old impressed on his debut and was subsequently unveiled to the media where he appearedrelaxed but confident about his ability to adapt to the Premier League from RB Leipzig.

Chelsea face Liverpool next where Werner is largely expected to start after overcoming a dead leg sustained against Brighton.Lampardasked EthanAmpadu, who was on loan at Leipzig last year before moving to Sheffield United this term, in a wide-ranging effort to profile Werner before signing him.

“We have a recruitment department who would always look as deeply as they can into those backgrounds on players, but, yeah, I’m hands-on as well and it’s something I like to see to get a feel for them,"Lampardsaid.

"I like to check the players’ social media sides now and again and when you are signing a player, of course, it can give you a small degree of detail on the player. Of course, it’s a huge help.

“I asked some people about him, we had a player, EthanAmpadu, who was on loan at Leipzig last year so there was an obvious connection. There are ways you can see very easily into the lives of the players in the modern-day —social media and those things.

"For me, the biggest factor is you can always hear second or third-hand about how hungry they are but it’s not until you speak to them and get that interaction going that you start to have that feel for the person and their hunger and drive, and their humility.

"So when I spoke toTimo, I felt that from him instantly and, from the training ground as well, he is a low-maintenance player which I just love. They just want to train and want to work and give everything and be a huge plus to the team.

"Timohas shown that already and I’m sure that will be a big part of the successful career I truly believe he will have here as a Chelsea player. He is robust, so I’ve no doubt he can handle the Premier League and the size of the opposition.

"And he’s very low maintenance. He comes in, he trains, he works hard, he lives right and he wants to come here and be a success. And he said that in his post-match statements. All the players coming from foreign leagues have to be given some time to adjust to the league.

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