Chelsea coach Frank Lampard has given assurance that Fikayo Tomori remains part of his plans despite falling out of favour this season.
This comes after Lampard backed Tomori for turning down a loan move to West Ham United.
His choice to remain at Stamford Bridge is a hard one as the Blues have five centre-backs, which means he might get little or no playing chances.
Yet Lampard said he was happy to see Tomori stay, even though he has handed him only one substitute appearance in the league this season.
“I think there’s arguments on both sides,” Chelsea’s manager said.
“Fikayo is our contracted player. We know that West Ham were interested. Fikayo took the decision not to go and that’s well within his rights. That had no bearing on my thoughts at all. He’s still a developing player.
“When I say developing, he’s had a great two years. He got himself in the England team, was one of the best defenders in the Championship and then played 20-plus games for Chelsea.
“It’s normal for a young player sometimes, in a squad as competitive as ours, where there are periods where you maybe aren’t playing every week.”
Lampard took Tomori on loan to Derby in the 2018-19 season and gave him plenty of opportunities last season.
“I’ve got no problem with Fikayo,” he said.
“I rely on him. That’s clear from when I took him to Derby and how I handled him last year. He’s been a fantastic player for me. He trains very well and when he gets his opportunity, like he had when he came on against Liverpool and in the Carabao Cup, it’s important he takes them.”