Virgil van Dijk joined Liverpool last month in a world-record deal for a defender (Picture: Getty)Frank Lampard insists Andreas Christensen would still be in the Chelsea side even if Antonio Conte had spent a world-record sum on Virgil van Dijk.
Dutch defender Van Dijk was linked with a number of clubs last summer – including Chelsea – but he eventually joined Liverpool in January for £75million, a record fee for a defender.
Lampard was coming to the end of his career at Stamford Bridge when Christensen joined the club’s academy as a teenager. The Chelsea legend says he always knew Christensen had what it takes to develop into a key player for the Blues.
Speaking to the Evening Standard, Lampard said: ‘Even if Van Dijk had come in, the player Christensen is, he’d have handled anything.
‘You put a team around those players even at his age. He wouldn’t have had a problem whoever they signed.
‘I trained with him a fair bit when I was still there. We were all very aware of his abilities. He came over to join in senior sessions when he was 16 and was very impressive.
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Andreas Christensen has developed into a key player for Antonio Conte (Picture: Getty)‘Some young players were not ready for the increase in speed of the game, to make decisions and choices on the ball when they were invited to join in.
‘But even at that young age you could see he had a composure and an awareness about him that made him fit straight in.’
After joining Chelsea’s academy at the age of 15, Christensen was sent on loan to Borussia Monchengladbach and spent two productive years at the German club.
He broke into the Chelsea first-team at the start of the current campaign and has not looked back since, replacing David Luiz as the club’s first-choice centre back.
Frank Lampard has heaped praise on the young defender (Picture: Getty)More: Football
‘Chelsea take a lot of criticism for loaning players out but Andreas is a perfect example of how it’s done right,’ former England midfielder Lampard added.
‘It is massively important for the academy and the young players to see Christensen in the first team now. He is a great example for everyone.
‘The young players can learn from his application. He has shown if you do things right, apply yourself, you will get your chance.’
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