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Why Giroud’s late Chelsea winner could be a blessing and a curse

The veteran striker’s late winner in Rennes will have only strengthened his own belief that he still has many more of those moments left in him.

In his mind he will be thinking about doing likewise for France at next summer’s Euros. Which is why the prospect of a season on the fringes at Stamford Bridge could be so damaging to his international prospects.

Even at 34, he has ambitions of leading his country’s attack at a major tournament. And there will be no shortage of clubs willing to offer him the regular football he craves if he pushes for a move in January.

What Lampard needs to do is convince Giroud his ambitions can be realised at Chelsea, even if only as a member of the supporting cast.

He may be a World Cup winner but the biggest club honours have evaded him.

In eight years in England he has never won the Premier League, never lifted the Champions League trophy. Yet with each passing week this

Chelsea team look increasingly like genuine contenders on both fronts.

The signs of their potential are impossible to ignore. A 2-1 win last night secured qualification to the knockout stages of the Champions League with two games to spare. On Sunday they host Tottenham in a top‑of-the-table clash that could end with them moving above Jose Mourinho’s league leaders.

In this season — perhaps more than any other — squad depth will be vital for any club trying to survive the rigours of a Covid-impacted schedule.

Chelsea’s was showcased in France, with Callum Hudson-Odoi scoring their opener and Hakim Ziyech, N’Golo Kante and Reece James named on the bench, while Christian Pulisic stayed in London in a bid to be fit for Spurs.

Then there was Giroud, who provide the decisive moment after Serhou Guirassy’s 85th-minute equaliser.

Lampard said: “I think Oli knows, even when he hasn’t played all the time, how much I am happy with him and rely on him in moments.

“Every player wants to play every game, that’s an impossible part of my job to keep them all happy.

“Hopefully he knows and is content. He got minutes, he came on and there will be games he starts for us as well.

“The thing behind the scenes is what a great professional he is and how highly regarded he is.

“He’s getting better with age, if anything, with how well he looks after himself, so he offers a lot for us.

“With the schedule coming up, I will need to rely on players.

“Thankfully for me he is a player who always keeps the right attitude if he’s not playing regularly, I know I can call upon him.”

The question is whether that will be enough for Giroud or his ambition.


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