Why Chelsea boss Frank Lampard told one player to change shirt number this term
Frank Lampard urged Chelsea youngster Andreas Christensen to change his squad number to mark “a fresh start” at Stamford Bridge this season – echoing the advice he gave Mason Mount in their time together at Derby.
Both men have featured heavily for Lampard in the early stage of his Blues tenure, with Mount, 20, starting every Premier League outing so far and bagging two goals in the process.
As for Christensen, 23, he started the club’s first three league fixtures before being dropped to the bench in their 2-2 draw at home to Sheffield United last Saturday.
The latter has made 69 appearances for Chelsea over the last two seasons, but he has so far failed to hold down a regular starting spot in west London.
That looks to have changed this term, nevertheless, with the £8m sale of David Luiz to Arsenal boosting Christensen’s chances of cementing a first-team place.
According to The Athletic, Lampard advised the Dane to change his shirt number from the No.27 he’d occupied for the last two years to Luiz’s vacant No.4.
This was a mental tactic from the new Chelsea gaffer to ensure Christensen wipes the slate clean in SW6, a ploy he also used with Mount at Derby last term when he told his midfield protege to ditch the No.19 shirt he wore at Vitesse Arnhem in favour of No.8.
Lampard enjoyed staggering success in that jersey for the Blues, scoring a club-record 211 goals that helped them to three Premier League titles, four FA Cups, two League Cups and the Champions League.
And Mount has kickstarted his career at the Bridge in similar goalscoring fashion, although he has a long way to go to emulate his boss.
With a two-window transfer ban preventing him from signing new players, Lampard has been forced to turn to Chelsea’s young stars this season.
As well as Mount and Christensen, 21-year-old Tammy Abraham has seemingly become first-choice striker at the club, netting four goals in his last two outings.
Fikayo Tomori, another 21-year-old who proved key player for Lampard on loan at Derby last year, also made his full debut against Sheffield United last weekend.