Date: 23rd November 2020 at 11:56am
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When reveals his team an hour or so before kick off it normally results in universal panic amongst supporters on social media.

Marco usually calls it on Twitter “5 minutes till meltdown”.

More recently the team has become more settled, the form the team’s in means that the starting XI kind of picks itself.

There’s only one or two places up for grabs, depending on the fitness of the players.

At the back, Lampard has finally found the magicial solution. in goal, and as full backs with partnering at the heart of the defence.

Lampard has spoken previously about having to “manage” Silva. And it’s clear that the long distance travelling during international breaks is an issue for the 36-year-old.

He hasn’t featured in either game immediately after both breaks so far this season, and it was Antonio Rudiger who got the nod to partner Zouma in Saturday’s comfortable 2-0 win at St James Park.

The German international very nearly left the club before the transfer window closed and has fought his way back into Lampard’s thinking through having “good attitude through the week, good attitude in how they prepare” according to his manager.

Speaking after the game Lampard told reporters “I’ve got confidence in Toni.”

All this is good news for Rudiger, but it does leave one rather baffling question.

What on earth happened to ?

The young defender was an integral part of Lampard’s Derby County team reaching the play off final, being voted the clubs player of the year and looked as though he’d taken advantage of Lampard’s willingness to sell David Luiz to take a spot in the first team.

However since lockdown in March, the 21-year-old has barely featured, and I fear for him and his career because he’s missing out on a footballing education that not many young defenders have the opportunity to get.

Thiago Silva is a world class defender and you can see the impact he is having on the players around him. It’s no coincidence that Zouma looks more comfortable and that James is not making simple defensive mistakes.

Tomori could be cutting his teeth alongside a great, just like did with . Yet he can’t get a look in.

Lampard has said that he’s here to win not just promote the academy players, and like he explained regarding Rudiger’s reintroduction to the team, it’s all about the work that happens at the training ground that will endeavour you to the manager.

Perhaps it’s just a simple case of a young player making a good impression and then getting too big for their boots. Sometimes they need to be brought back down to earth.

But sending Tomori on loan isn’t what he needs. He needs to be out there week in week our learning from Silva and then using that experience to establish himself as the first choice once Silva leaves in a year or two’s time.

We obviously don’t see what goes on in training, and there were rumours of him chasing that celebrity lifestyle with his off the pitch behaviour but that’s all hear say.

Trusting the judgement of Lampard, and the coaching staff is the most sensible thing we can do at the moment.

It’ll be interesting to see what happens between now and January. The team will play every 3-4 days and it’s clear that Silva can’t play all the games.

He might only get one opportunity but he’s got to take it, otherwise he’ll look back on this moment in his career with nothing but regret.

Footballing educations like this don’t come around very often.