Frank Lampard praised the form of Trevoh Chalobah during his spell as Chelsea interim manager after the defender put in a fine all-round display in Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Nottingham Forest.
The 23-year-old academy graduate has featured in all eight of Lampard’s games in charge including five starts, becoming a dependable presence amidst the team’s struggles for performances and results.
He has been used both at right-back and on the right of a back three as Lampard has shuffled between systems, and has been the club’s most visible homegrown product since owner Todd Boehly’s whirlwind January transfer spend.
This has been Chalobah’s second season in Chelsea’s first team after loan spells at Ipswich, Huddersfield and French side Lorient, and his 22 Premier League appearances have exceeded the 20 he made last campaign.
Against Forest he was responsible for setting up the first of Raheem Sterling’s two goals, combining well with Noni Madueke down the right before picking out his team-mate to score, as Chelsea recovered from a goal down to avoid the ignominy of another home loss.
“He’s such a selfless lad. He doesn’t say ‘I want to play in this position’,” Lampard said. “Maybe (his best position) will become apparent, but I think he’s played really well in a back three for the club.
“(He had) a really good period when he first got into the team, he can play well as a centre-back in a back four and at right-back. The bigger picture is the way he’s been applying himself since I’ve come back.
“He’s a delight to train with every day because he comes in with an enthusiasm, low maintenance, and when you talk about the things you want, he tries to do them on the pitch, which is a great thing.
“In my short period here, you look at what are the games and the individual players, I’ve been very happy. I was looking forward to working with Trev because I didn’t get that chance when I was here before (2019-21).”
It is understood Chelsea are closing in on appointing Mauricio Pochettino as their next permanent head coach, with an agreement believed to have been reached for the former Tottenham boss to take over from Lampard at the end of the season.
One of his first tasks will be deciding who of the club’s bloated squad will have a role in his plans.
Until recently Chalobah might have seemed a candidate to depart, but that looks less likely after the versatility and consistency he has demonstrated under Lampard.
“I’ve tried to get him on loan when I’ve been working elsewhere, and now it’s been nice and I appreciate what a high-level player he is,” Lampard added. “He’s going to get a lot better.
“He’s always had that (good crossing, finding his man). He’s played as a number six, he’s played as a right-sided centre-half who steps into areas.
“Some things you rely on the level of the player to be able to step in, to make crosses and to have the physical capacity. He’s got all that. He can fill different roles for us.”