Lampard hails super-sub Giroud

Lampard hails super-sub Giroud

LONDON • Olivier Giroud has publicly expressed his worries about his lack of playing time this season.

With the striker yet to start in the Premier League, he is angling for a move away from Chelsea when the January transfer window opens.

France’s World Cup-winning coach Didier Deschamps has already said his striker’s lack of minutes is “concerning” and Giroud knows his place in the Euro 2020 squad is at risk.

But with Chelsea set to play 10 games in six weeks, Blues manager Frank Lampard hopes he can persuade the 34-year-old to stay at Stamford Bridge after claiming that more game time was in store for France’s second-highest scorer.

Giroud, who has 44 international goals but has made only one start – in the League Cup – this term, came on as a second-half substitute and powered home a header in stoppage time to seal Chelsea’s 2-1 Champions League Group E win at debutants Rennes and a place in the knockout stage on Tuesday.

Hailing his striker as a model player that continues to get better with age, Lampard said: “Everybody kind of feels from the outside what a great professional he is, how highly regarded he is by his teammates and myself.

“He’s so professional in how he trains and looks after himself that age isn’t even a factor for him. He’s getting better with age if anything, in terms of how he looks after himself.

“It wasn’t just his goal when he came on but his hold-up play and physicality. You saw the reaction to his goal, and that wasn’t just because it was a late winner, it shows what he does day-to-day and what he means to the team.”

Lampard has preferred Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham to lead his attack and the duo are expected to be fielded ahead of Giroud when leaders Tottenham visit Stamford Bridge in the Premier League on Sunday.

While Lampard will not stand in the former Arsenal man’s way should he choose to move on in January – his contract expires next summer – he insisted the veteran would still have an important role to play, even if it mainly involves coming off the bench.

“He offers a lot for us and I keep saying it, but the big schedule coming up and the way we play means I will rely on players,” he added.

“Thankfully for me, he’s a player that always keeps the right attitude if he’s not playing regularly and I know when I call upon him that he comes in as he did today.”

MODEL PLAYER

He’s so professional in how he trains and looks after himself that age isn’t even a factor for him. He’s getting better with age if anything, in terms of how he looks after himself.

FRANK LAMPARD, on Olivier Giroud, after the 34-year-old Frenchman’s match-winning display in their Champions League match against Rennes.

Serhou Guirassy had cancelled out a first-half opener by Callum Hudson-Odoi, but the hosts were denied by a string of top saves from their former No. 1 Edouard Mendy, who moved to Chelsea in the summer.

Joining the Blues in the next round are Spanish La Liga outfit Sevilla, who won 2-1 at Russia’s Krasnodar.

With both sides on 10 points, they will now do battle for first place come the end of the group stage next month.

“I’m very happy to qualify with two games to spare,” said Lampard. “It was a really tough match, they’re (Rennes) a very good team.

“Their recent form doesn’t reflect how good they are, it was a tough, hard-fought win.”

REUTERS