Shortly after arriving in Japan Frank Lampard spoke to local and foreign media in Yokohama, revealing why Ethan Ampadu did not make the journey east before commenting on the future of another young Chelsea player, Callum Hudson-Odoi.
Our first friendly here is against Kawasaki Frontale, the J-League champions, and Lampard was joined at the press conference by his opposite number, Toru Oniki, as well as their captain, Yu Kobayashi, and his own player Mateo Kovacic.
Following introductions Lampard addressed questions from journalists in the room, one of whom wanted to know why Ampadu was not among the travelling Chelsea party.
‘Ethan’s not injured,’ Lampard reported.
‘We are looking at the possibility of Ethan going on loan for the season. I tried to sign Ethan on loan at Derby last year so I’m a big fan, but with the minutes he played last year, in the interest of Ethan and of Chelsea, the idea he can play a lot of games somewhere could be good for him. That’s not done yet but we haven’t brought him here while that’s up in the air.
‘I really wanted to work with Ethan this year. That’s a slight disappointment, but it’s to benefit of him. In midfield and defence we have a lot of quality, so each player is a case by case.’
In the wake of Mason Mount committing his future to the club by signing a five-year contract, Lampard was asked if Callum Hudson-Odoi would be the next Academy graduate to agree a new deal at Stamford Bridge.
‘Mason signing is great because of the impressive two loans he has had. He will be part of the first team squad.
‘Ruben has just signed long term which is great,' Lampard continued before turning his attention to Hudson-Odoi.
'With Callum of course I want him to sign and stay here. He’s a player who's come through the Academy; he’s a player who can be a big player for Chelsea and England. We as a club as a whole want him to stay, for sure.
'I think he knows he has a manager here who wants to work with him to improve, and that takes hard work. Nothing is given, especially when you’re 18 years of age, but with all the attributes Callum has we want him to come through at Chelsea and be a big player for us now and in the future.
‘There a few younger players now, some have signed, some I think will sign in the next month or in the early part of the season, and it’s important we move forward on that. I know as a club we are doing our best from top to bottom.’
Lampard also had words on N’Golo Kante, who has travelled to Japan having trained separately from the rest of the players during his time in Ireland last week.
‘N’Golo hopefully is going to integrate into proper training this week with the rest of the team. It’s an injury that came from the backend of last season. I don’t envisage it being too long. Hopefully he can take part in one of the games while we are here.
‘With the amount of games he has played in the last few seasons, it’s very important to be cautious, and with the type of player he is, a really energetic, fit lad. Pushing him at the start of pre-season wasn’t necessary.
‘We will take it a bit easy and we want him fit for the start of the season. I am [confident he will be] as it stands, but I hate making too many predictions.’
There will be more from Lampard during the week, and words from Mateo Kovacic later today...