Media reports during this early part of the January transfer window have speculated on whether Fikayo Tomori’s immediate future is at Chelsea, with loan moves suggested for the 23-year-old defender.
In his conference from Cobham held on Thursday afternoon ahead of Saturday’s game at Fulham, Frank Lampard put the record straight on whether Tomori figures in his plans.‘He absolutely has a long-term future at this club,’ insisted the boss.‘We’ll see if or when he goes on loan but the moment I got close to Fikayo was when I took him to Derby with me and he was player of the year there and one of the best players in the Championship that year in my opinion.‘He came back here and played 20-plus games for us at a very young age last year and got in the England squad.‘In my head there is an absolute long-term plan for Fikayo about his career here. If it is to go and play games [on loan] it will be to absolutely enhance his personal development and hopefully help whatever team he goes to, because that will go hand in hand, and he will come back to us a better player.’
Tomori has played in four games this season, the most recent and first since September when he came on during last weekend’s FA Cup win over Morecambe. It was also the game when Timo Werner put his wait for a goal behind him by netting the second in the 4-0 win, and having played the German as the central striker in the last two games, Lampard shared his thoughts on how that is working out.‘With Timo through the middle, it is an area of the pitch that he clearly likes to start from,’ he said.‘In Leipzig and for Germany he has played centrally. He has played on the left, he has played as a lone striker and he has played as one of two strikers, so I certainly see how there is room for manoeuvre in terms of how you can use Timo.‘When he plays centrally, we pride ourselves on being a hard-working team off the ball which means sometimes a lot of pressure high up the pitch and it is very normal for Timo and others who have come into this team in forward areas to take some time to get used to what my idea is, and what team-mates’ ideas are, because they haven’t had working time on the pitch, no doubt about that.
‘That can only be done at full pace in training to really work on the high press. That is why these last two weeks have been useful.’Lampard confirmed that Werner’s performances have been pretty good and they are going to get better, the more he works with his team-mates and gets used to the Premier League.‘It is going slightly unspoken that a lot of players who come into this league, at clubs like Chelsea where there is a lot of competition for places, are given time to come in and come out of the team, and feel their way,’ he added.‘Players that have come into the Liverpool team in recent years have been given time in those early stages to feel how the team plays. Clearly with Timo we didn’t have that opportunity because of some injuries in certain positions, and because we bought Timo and others to make an impact in our team straightaway.‘So everybody has to be patient with the idea that we will maximise Timo’s talents in this team, and that is a two-way street, with his work and our work as a group. It will happen but of course it can take time.’