Swansea City loan star Conor Gallagher chasing Chelsea dream
The first steps in Frank Lampard’s stellar senior career were taken in a Swansea City shirt.
A quarter of a century later, Chelsea starlet Conor Gallagher hopes to follow the lead of his manager.
The circumstances are slightly different, of course. Lampard was a little known 17-year-old at West Ham when he joined Swansea, then of the third tier, on loan in 1995.
He played nine times for Frank Burrows’ Swans, scoring his first senior goal against Brighton, before making his top-flight debut for the Hammers later that season.
Gallagher arrived at Swansea in January having already had a taste of first-team football at Charlton Athletic in the first half of 2019-20.
He could have stayed at Charlton for the season, but had eyes on the future at Stamford Bridge as he crossed the Severn Bridge.
Frank Lampard (L) had a three-month spell on loan at Swansea in the 1995-96 season
“It was really difficult [to leave Chalrton] – I had such a good time there,” Gallagher tells BBC Sport Wales.
“But Chelsea and I thought it was best to leave to improve my development.
“He [Lampard] thought the style of play at Swansea would suit me and I could show what I can do even more. Swansea was definitely the right club for me.”
Lampard’s spell in Wales came five years before Gallagher was born.
Even so Gallagher, who turned 20 last month, is aware of Lampard’s career history.
“I am sure he has memories of being at Swansea and that might be one of the reasons why he was happy for me to come here,” he adds.
“He messaged me when I was at Charlton just to say ‘well done, keep doing what you are doing because your work isn’t going unnoticed’. That’s nice to hear.
“I went back for a day before coming to Swansea. It was nice to see him and all the players and staff. I know the manager and the other staff are behind me and they support me.”
Gallagher, who hails from Surrey, first trained with Chelsea at the age of…