Coming off the back of long-term injuries, there has been a sense that Ruben Loftus-Cheek and Callum Hudson-Odoi have spent this season playing catch-up.
The coronavirus hiatus offered opportunities for both to sharpen up but the latter picked up a minor injury on the return to training and Frank Lampard has now said that it may next season before the former hits top gear.
The head coach is excited about that but in the short-term he also expects the pair to contribute in the run-in, more likely as impact players off the substitutes’ bench.
“They are both slightly similar cases but different in their own way. Ruben, literally played no games for a long, long time. Just before the lockdown period, we were trying to find him games in the Under-23s and play him at the right time.
“So for Ruben, I think this period has been great for him to get fit. He is pretty fit but the reality is that next season will be the one with another pre-season that he will be really firing for.
“I am really excited for those times. It is not to say he won’t contribute now, he is coming off the bench, he may start some games and he gives us something really different.”
Hudson-Odoi is further along that road in terms of appearances but he has been inconsistent and for Lampard the teenager must look to emulate the recent form of Christian Pulisic and Willian.
Lampard added: “With Callum, I think the same, he has played more games than Ruben this year. I think he really needs to work hard daily in training and do the right things daily, then when he gets his opportunities from the bench or to start, then he really needs to show input in games.
“We are seeing the difference now with Christian Pulisic and what Willian are doing in the team. When Callum gets in the team, comes on or starts he has to show that he has something similar in what he can do for us.
“They are both young and I both believe and trust in…