Chelsea’s transfer ban has allowed them to discover talent “they probably didn’t know they had six months ago”, says Glen Johnson, with Frank Lampard finding benefits in a tough situation.
The Blues boss arrived at Stamford Bridge over the summer aware that he would be working under a two-window embargo.
With Christian Pulisic the only fresh face welcomed into the fold, with a deal agreed for the United States international in January, Lampard was forced to look in-house for inspiration.
He quickly took the decision that academy graduates would be given a chance to prove their worth, with the faith shown in the likes of Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount and Fikayo Tomori being richly rewarded.
A number of other youngsters, such as Reece James and Billy Gilmour, have also seen minutes, with Johnson pleased to see Chelsea unearthing hidden gems already on their books.
The former Blues defender told Express Sport: “When I was there it was totally different, it was when Roman Abramovich was buying all the best players in the world, the younger players didn’t really get a look in.
“It was a totally different era, every big name came through the door but I’m pleasantly surprised to see how well the kids are doing now. They’ve had to give the kids a chance, though, because they lost their best player and the transfer situation.
“They’ve all stood up and have performed brilliantly and Chelsea had talent they probably didn’t know they had six months ago.”
Johnson is not surprised to see his former team-mate Lampard making the most of the talent available to him at Chelsea.
He admits that he did not expect to see the Blues legend back in west London this early in his coaching career, but always believed he was capable of offering inspiration off the field having previously delivered plenty on it.
“Yeah he always had that coaching instinct, after games, talking to coaches, speaking tactics so I always thought he’d be a manager one day, definitely,” Johnson added.
“I was surprised he was given the Chelsea job so soon but I thought he was definitely destined for it in the future.
“Having said that, it was the perfect time for him because of the transfer ban and they would have to give somebody time anyway, so it’s great to see him getting the job done.”
Chelsea are currently third in the Premier League table, level on points with Leicester and eight adrift of leaders Liverpool.