Frank Lampard’s keen to keep Olivier Giroud despite lack of Chelsea playing time

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Frank Lampard insists he wants Olivier Giroud to stay at Chelsea and has assured the striker he remains an “important” part of his squad.

Giroud has admitted he is concerned that his lack of game time – just 36 minutes in the Premier League so far this season – will hamper his chances of playing for France at next year’s European Championship.

But Blues boss Lampard said: “I do have plans for Oli, he is very important in our squad.

“He was very important last year, he played a lot of games and made a lot of starts. He’ll always want to play more but he’s a huge member of the squad for me.

“I know he will be important for us going forward, so I want Oli to be here and to stay.

“I have a very good relationship with Oli and if ever he felt that it was going to go a different way then I would happily have that conversation with him.

“But I want him to stay here. I’m open both ways if that ever changes but at the moment he is very important for us.”

One player who has a big future at Chelsea is Mason Mount, who has faced some harsh treatment on social media from fans questioning his right to be in both the Blues team and the England side.

Some even labelled  the 21-year-old ‘Lampard’s son’ amid accusations of favouritism.

But Lampard said: “I think we have a huge fanbase and the social media world has changed the way people critique football and it’s easy for someone to sit on a phone and make harsh statements.

“With Mason, maybe he looks clean cut. I think he’s doing an advert at the minute where he takes his top off, and that’s about as edgy as Mason gets.

Mason Mount file photo
Frank Lampard has faith in Mason Mount (Nigel French/PA)

“There are 100 things in his game that impress the managers that he works for. But because he doesn’t have an Instagram reel of those kind of flicks and it’s a different type of football, it’s easy for people to bracket him off.

“Make no mistake, Mason Mount or any player in this squad will not be getting any favouritism when it comes to picking this squad.”

Online criticism is water off a duck’s back to Mount, who said: “I don’t think about that side. I know that the focus is on the pitch. It doesn’t bother me too much.

“It means a lot to me to have two managers in Lampard and Gareth Southgate who have trust in me.”

Victory for Chelsea could see them qualify for the next round with two matches to spare.

Since losing 3-0 at Stamford Bridge earlier this month Rennes have also been beaten by Paris St German and at home to Bordeaux.

Coach Julien Stephan said: “Of course we’re not happy with our results. We played poorly against Bordeaux at the weekend, but we are going to improve.

“We are all desperate to find the solution to our problems. If it doesn’t happen tomorrow, it’s OK. Chelsea invested a lot of money in the summer. It’s a fantastic club.”

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