In football, it’s one of the rare occasions when a ‘head ache’ is described as a good thing. Or a problem is talked about as being ‘good to have’.
Frank Lampard certainly finds himself in this good (bad) situation. He is inundated with quality midfielders, and has an impossible task to pick his main regulars.
Of course he can (and will) rotate, but that’s not always ideal, and it’s important to establish a consistent core in the team.
He currently has Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic, N’Golo Kante, Ross Barkley, and Mason Mount. Then he’s got Ruben Loftus-Cheek, and Marco van Ginkel to come back in.
You’ve got Jorginho, Kovacic, Kante, and Loftus-Cheek who would be the ones you can put in those deeper roles. The you have Barkley, Mount, and Loftus-Cheek who can play the more advanced roles.
All of those above players apart from Barkley, will be expecting to be regulars, and have the quality to do so.
So how on earth do you fit them all in? The answer is simple, you can’t, unless you’re a Rugby team.
Some solutions would be that both Mount and Loftus-Cheek can and have been effective out wide, and I’d actually sooner use both of them over Willian out there, and maybe even Pedro.
But they’re obviously stronger centrally.
I also want to see Loftus-Cheek playing deeper, using his best assets driving forward with the ball. But then Kovacic has been fantastic so far this season, and also does that very well. Those two I feel will be directly competing.
Then you have Jorginho who is so important to the system, and playing out from the back. But he certainly wont be untouchable and will also be competing with the above two.
Kante is the only one who definitely starts as the first name on that team sheet, for all possible reasons! Simply, he brings everything to that team and is the entire heartbeat. There’s no debate here.
Mount, along with Loftus-Cheek is our best offensive threat, so he will be needed more often than not. I’d actually be alright with him being wide, if that means starting Loftus-Cheek as well. But then we have Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic, who will be the main starters there.
It’s giving me a headache just writing about it, so I don’t envy Lampard’s ‘problem’ here. It will be interesting to see how it unfolds when everyone is fit.