Frank Lampard has reminded Chelsea’s players that breaking social-distancing rules could put lives in danger after Tammy Abraham and Ben Chilwell were forced to sit out England’s friendly against Wales following their breach of Covid-19 protocols.
Although Chelsea’s manager said it can be difficult for young players to resist the temptation to socialise, he added they have a responsibility to stay within the football bubble. Abraham and Chilwell gave England a selection headache after breaking the government’s “rule of six” guidelines by attending a party with Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho, and Lampard pointed out their behaviour could have led to graver consequences than having to isolate from teammates.
“We shouldn’t cry too much because we’re able to do a job we love in these difficult circumstances,” Lampard said. “I suppose it’s different for me at 42 years of age. I am very happy to go home and spend time with my children and my wife. I quite like not mixing households at times. You can get some peace at home.
“But when you’re 20, 22, 23, their lives are different and that’s why my words are not too harsh on Tammy and Ben. I know they’re good, decent lads. They admitted they made a mistake in terms of going to the party. They were apologetic and we move on.
“Hopefully the words I did say will mean it won’t be happening again because it can certainly affect selection. I know that’s not what they’ll want either. As much as that, they need to consider what it could mean if you’re breaking the rules – it could endanger other people around you – and not be selfish. That’s more important than if they’ll be isolated from a squad or two. We all have to take those responsibilities. It’s much bigger than football.”
Abraham and Chilwell are available for Chelsea’s home game against Southampton on Saturday, and Hakim Ziyech is in contention after a knee injury. Ziyech has not played since joining from Ajax and Lampard welcomed the winger building fitness by coming off the bench in Morocco’s 3-1 win over Senegal.
“If he was going to stay behind I was looking at getting him minutes in a game behind closed doors,” Lampard said. “Behind closed doors is difficult for us because of the bubble. The ideal result was that he played 30 minutes for his country.”