Lampard paves the way for Kepa’s Chelsea exit this month

Lampard refused to offer the out-of-favour goalkeeper any assurances over his Stamford Bridge future – but made it clear Edouard Mendy remains his No1.  

Kepa – the world’s most expensive keeper – is desperate for first-team football, as he bids to be part of Spain’s Euros squad this summer.  

But his prospects are bleak at Chelsea, where he has been reduced to back-up to Mendy – starting just one of their last 18 games.  

It was telling that Lampard refused to be drawn on the £71.6million Spain international ahead of Sunday’s FA Cup third round tie against Morecambe, which could see him start for the first time since the Champions League dead rubber against Krasnodar last month.  

“Well at the moment he’s our player and I think the situation is clear,” said the Chelsea manager. “Edou’s come in, he’s been playing regularly as the number one for us.

“And when Kepa has come in he did well, and he’s trained really well. His attitude around the place has been brilliant.

“So I won’t be drawn on that one at the moment, he’s our player, we’ll see how January goes.

“But I don’t want to be alluding to what might or might not be.”

Lampard wants to reduce his squad during this window, with a host senior players being pushed to the fringes following his £220m spending spree last summer.  

Antonio Rudiger, Marcos Alonso, Emerson and Fikayo Tomori have all been reduced bit-part roles this season.  

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Olivier Giroud had also been frustrated by his lack of game time, before breaking back into the team in recent months, while Callum Hudson-Odoi has been given limited opportunities.  

Lampard said: “When you have a squad as big, as we do, it means I have probably more non-starters than starters for every game in our squad. It is only human nature that players find that tough. I found that tough.

“When you have so many of them then you are asking something impossible for them to have a happy face every day and to work through the week and then not get to turn up for the business end.  

“I think you would say the same in any job. In difficult times, the challenges are always high for me and the players. If there is a little bit of edge around those times then good, let people show their edge and show they deserve to be in the team.  

“If they train the right way and act the right way, they will get in the team and stay in the team. That’s part and parcel of having a big squad.”

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