Chelsea brushed aside Southampton 4-1 at St Mary's Stadium on Sunday to register back-to-back Premier League wins for the first time under Frank Lampard.

In-form striker Tammy Abraham broke the deadlock with his eighth league goal of the campaign to join Sergio Aguero at the top of the competition's scoring charts. 

Mason Mount and N'Golo Kante were also on target, either side of Danny Ings pulling one back, as Lampard's men netted three first-half goals for the second successive Premier League away trip.

Substitute Michy Batshuayi scored the only goal of a low-key second half to seal the win for Chelsea, who rise up to fifth in the table.

Abraham lifted Callum Hudson-Odoi's straight pass over a hesitant Angus Gunn to give Chelsea the lead 17 minutes in, the strike being awarded by goal-line technology despite Maya Yoshida's acrobatic clearance.

The visitors doubled their tally seven minutes later as Mount took Willian's pass in his stride and fired past Gunn, but Southampton were given a lifeline when Ings got in front of Kurt Zouma to divert the ball home.

Chelsea's two-goal lead was restored before half-time, though, as Kante's long-range effort deflected off Jan Bednarek past a wrong-footed Gunn. 

Ings rounded Kepa Arrizabalaga but could not find a way past covering Chelsea midfielder Jorginho on the line, while up the other end Gunn kept out Abraham and Hudson-Odoi, who was making his first league start of the season.

But Southampton ultimately offered little in the way of an attacking threat after the interval, with Chelsea instead adding to their tally a minute from time through Batshuayi's composed finish after he had exchanged passes with fellow substitute Christian Pulisic.

 

What does it mean? Lampard's Chelsea building momentum

Chelsea started the season slowly but they head into the October international break on the back of a four-game winning streak in all competitions.

Successive victories in the Premier League sees them move level with fourth-placed Leicester City and they do not face a side currently above them until travelling to Manchester City in late November.

Abraham maintains impressive form

In the week he was called up by England, Abraham scored his ninth goal of the season in all competitions - the joint-most of any Premier League player, alongside Raheem Sterling.

Southampton's defending was poor - and the less said about Gunn's part in the first two Chelsea goals the better - but Abraham deserves credit for continuing to take his chances when they fall to him.

Chelsea's defence still fragile

Southampton got in behind Chelsea on a number of occasions in the first half, most notably for Ings' goal after four visiting players failed to stop the run of Yan Valery.

In the 69 games that Lampard has managed between Derby County and Chelsea in all competitions, his teams have only kept a clean sheet 15 times.

What's next?

Chelsea host Newcastle United on October 19 when the Premier League returns, the same day struggling Southampton travel to Wolves.

Frank Lampard says Chelsea's young guns will get a chance to make a first-team breakthrough regardless of nationality if their attitude is right but revelled in the "nice story" of England call-ups for academy graduates Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori.

Lampard starred for Chelsea and England in an esteemed playing career and is now forging pathways for a new generation of youngsters at Stamford Bridge, partially aided by a transfer ban.

The Blues have promoted Mount, Abraham and Tomori to the first team this season and all three have impressed, earning call-ups to the senior England team for the coming international break.

Chelsea have been criticised in the past for not granting opportunities to players from their impressive academy, meaning Lampard appreciates the early success of the trio.

"There's two things. I really like it, the affiliation with the academy, and the fans love it," he told reporters. "That's one - and I do like that side of it.

"But the other 50 per cent is that I don't care where they come from as long as they play trying to do the right things.

"It doesn't matter if you're an English 20-year-old, a French 20-year-old, et cetera. If the ethics are right and you deserve your place in the team, you'll get your place in the team.

"Yes, it's obviously a nice story because fans really do enjoy seeing the young English boys coming through and they all have an affiliation with the club.

"But if you look below them slightly, we have Ian Maatsen, a young Dutch boy who's a really good young player, and if he comes through, I'll feel exactly the same. It's nice to see."

Mount and Abraham have both played for England at senior level previously, but Tomori is a new name in Gareth Southgate's squad.

Lampard considers the defender "a project" but also believes he has set a standard with his recent performances that he now must continue to keep.

"To play so well against Liverpool and Mo Salah, as he did, and against the really quick Lille strikers in a European away game, now I want to make sure he switches straight back on - like he did against Brighton - like he hopefully will against Southampton," Lampard said.

"Those are the standards now. The consistency levels will be the tester. The only way I know that you can guard against anything negative happening is how you apply yourself daily."

As Chelsea slumped to a third winless Premier League home game, Frank Lampard's name rang out around Stamford Bridge in a show of support rarely afforded to his predecessor, Maurizio Sarri.

That the club's all-time leading goal-scorer has survived a tough start to life as manager with his reputation relatively intact comes as little surprise given the esteem in which he is held in west London, but the honeymoon period cannot last.

Sarri knows only too well how quickly things can sour at Chelsea, where his undefeated Blues side conceded just four goals in the Italian's first six league games in charge, yet he still found himself under pressure a few months into his tenure.

Lampard has claimed only two wins from his opening six, seeing his defence ship 13 goals and fail to keep a single clean sheet, but his salvation may lie among Chelsea's young guns.

With the club under a transfer embargo, Lampard has not hesitated to give key roles to talented youngsters who have transformed the mood around the club, despite a slow start to the season.

The potential on show at the Bridge appears to have prompted one of England's most impatient clubs to take a long-term approach for the first time in over a decade.

But just how good are the young stars of Lampard's team? With the help of Opta data, we offer a mid-term report on three of Chelsea's brightest hopes.

TAMMY ABRAHAM

Tammy Abraham had the opportunity to equal Luis Suarez's Premier League record of scoring two or more goals in four consecutive matches when Chelsea faced Liverpool at Stamford Bridge.

He came up short, failing to find the net as the Blues lost 2-1, but his performance did no harm to his growing reputation as one of the deadliest strikers in the top flight.

The 21-year-old scored seven goals in three games to ensure he will be a marked man this season, plundering braces against Norwich City and Sheffield United, before netting a hat-trick in Chelsea's 5-2 win at Wolves.

Abraham is averaging a goal every 58.2 minutes, which puts him right up there with Sergio Aguero (one goal every 55.8mins) among the league's most dependable finishers and his shot conversion rate of 38.8 per cent compares well to Aguero's (32 per cent).

The former Swansea loanee has created six chances for team-mates - more than Arsenal's Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (four) or Alexandre Lacazette (two) - and while his passing accuracy (71.95 per cent) is not among the league's highest, he has a better duel success rate (35.38 per cent) than Liverpool's Mohamed Salah (30.91).

MASON MOUNT

Lampard knew he could rely on Mason Mount to step up, having had his faith in the 20-year-old repaid time and time again while they worked together at Derby County last season.

But even the Chelsea boss will not have dared hope Mount would acclimatise to life in the top flight as quickly as he has in his six matches in the Blues' first team.

After a frustrating full debut in the 4-0 defeat at Manchester United, Mount announced himself to the Stamford Bridge faithful with Chelsea's only goal in a 1-1 draw with Leicester City.

The attacking midfielder has since netted in Chelsea's wins at Norwich and Wolves, putting him level with Marcus Rashford and Roberto Firmino on three league goals this season.

Mount brings a lot more than just finishing prowess to Lampard's Chelsea side and his ability to run with the ball and create chances for team-mates has put him among the Premier League's most dangerous players this season.

A dribble success rate of 64.71 per cent puts Mount ahead of Rashford, Raheem Sterling and Daniel James, while he is level with Salah and Sadio Mane on 12 chances created.

CHRISTIAN PULISIC

Christian Pulisic has started three of Chelsea's six league games this season but that has been enough for him to demonstrate his prowess as a potentially consistent creative force.

The 21-year-old signing from Borussia Dortmund has created four chances from open play - one more than Manchester United's much-talked-about new arrival James and as many as Arsenal talisman Aubameyang.

Pulisic has yet to score a league goal in a Chelsea shirt, attempting just four shots, but he selflessly played in Mount for the Blues' second in their 3-2 win at Norwich City.

Pulisic, who has three years' worth of experience at international level with the United States, has impressed with his touch and composure, and his passing accuracy of 85.05 per cent is better than that of Manchester City lynchpin Kevin De Bruyne (83.69) and Tottenham playmaker Christian Eriksen (83.57).

Having completed eight out of his 19 attempted dribbles, Pulisic does not boast the league's best success rate when running with the ball, but he has shown potential even on quieter outings.

Mason Mount insists Chelsea are staying positive as they seek to finally claim a home win this season when they host Grimsby Town and Brighton and Hove Albion this week.

Frank Lampard's side suffered a 2-1 loss to Liverpool on Sunday, marking a fourth game at Stamford Bridge this term without a victory.

The Blues mounted an impressive second-half rally against the Premier League leaders but N'Golo Kante's goal was only enough to halve the deficit.

"We are going through a spell when we are getting little bits here and there wrong and we are getting punished for it," said Mount. "I think we have always got to stay positive.

"We are positive straight after the game, focusing now on our next two games at home and wanting to win them. They are difficult games, but I think once you get that first home win and get that momentum building, then hopefully we can carry that on.

"I think the fans watching saw how much we put into the game, how hard we worked throughout the whole game. They probably feel as much as us that we could probably get something from the game at the end.

"It could easily have been a draw if we nick a goal. They are watching the game and can see how much we are running, and want to win the game and want to play for the badge. So, yes, that home win is due and we need to focus on that and hopefully in the next game we can do that.

"Of course [we need to win more at home], if you look at the games we have had we can take positives from every game we have had.

"We need to win games at home, that's a big focus."

Mount took some comfort from Chelsea's showing after the interval against Liverpool, who held on to maintain their 100 per cent start to the top-flight season.

"They are one of the best teams in the league and, in the second half, I felt like we dominated it," he said.

"They had chances. Look at the team they have got and they are always going to create chances, but I thought overall in the second half we were very dominant. We had chances of our own and we could have scored.

"We look back at the second-half performance and take a lot of positives from it.

"I think Liverpool are a very, very good side and they started the game well from two set-pieces which you can't do very much from that with their quality. I thought they didn't create much in open play."

Cheslea head coach Frank Lampard remains optimistic midfielder Mason Mount will be fit for their Premier League clash with Liverpool.

Mount, 20, sustained an ankle injury sustained in Chelsea's defeat to Valencia in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Chelsea's medical staff will make the final call on Mount's involvement but Lampard is hopeful he will be available to face Jurgen Klopp's side on Sunday.

"He has got a chance. The image of the tackle made it look really bad," Lampard said, at his media conference ahead of the match at Stamford Bridge.

"Hopefully it is not so bad, we are trying to get him moving today, it is one that I will have to call later on before the game. 

"We are trying, the good thing about Mason is his attitude is so good that he will give everything to play for this club. We will have every opportunity to try to get him there.

"There was a lot of swelling, it didn't look the best. Injuries with the ankle, from my experience, if there is proper damage there is not much you can do. If it's swollen you strap it up. 

"We won't take any risks, there is a bigger picture, we will do our best."

 

Chelsea's midfield options for the visit of the Premier League leaders have been strengthened by N'Golo Kante's return to training.

Kante has not featured since Chelsea's 1-1 draw with Leicester on August 18 and has missed their last three matches with an ankle injury.

The 28-year-old France midfielder struggled with injuries in recent months having been absent most of Chelsea's pre-season with a knee problem.

"It is a boost, we know the importance of him for any team that he plays in. The quality that he brings," added Lampard.

"The question is how fit he is. He has had a long time out now since the back-end of last season.

"He has played a couple of games, but you can't count that as much because he missed pre-season.

"Now we have to manage him, similar to Mason, with the bigger picture. It's great to have him back around us."

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has warned Callum Hudson-Odoi the "hard work starts now" after the teenager signed a new long-term deal.

England international Hudson-Odoi put pen to paper on a new five-year contract on Thursday which will keep him at Stamford Bridge until 2024.

The 18-year-old winger's future had been the subject of much speculation, with Bayern Munich strongly linked to the youngster before he agreed fresh terms.

Lampard had assured Hudson-Odoi, who has been out injured since rupturing his Achilles in April, he was a central part of his plans when he replaced Maurizio Sarri in the Chelsea dugout in July.

And speaking at a news conference on Friday ahead of Sunday's clash with Premier League leaders Liverpool, Lampard said Hudson-Odoi now has to show his worth on the pitch.

"He is a young lad who has come through the academy, the club have worked hard with him, and he has worked hard to get one foot in the first team," Lampard said.

"For me it felt like it was what everyone wanted. It was away from me slightly with the club dealing with the contract itself. 

"But I made it clear I wanted him at the club because I believe in his talent. Now that a five-year contract is signed it is where the hard work really starts for him. 

"He has got everything we are trying to bring, we know the talent he has, that he has shown on occasions in the first team when he has had his opportunity. 

"I think there is a lot more. It's pure hard work that will get him there. Now that it is signed and sealed we can put that to bed and get to work."

Hudson-Odoi and Lampard had face-to-face talks during pre-season amid rumours the player was seeking to leave Stamford Bridge.

Lampard emphasised to the teenager that his vision for Chelsea involved putting faith in the club's youngsters.

"A lot of the talk was before me, a lot of that talk was from last season, so I only saw that from the outside," added Lampard.

"The only talks I had were not persuasion, but about how I see it at the club. Hopefully Callum can look at the other younger players around him getting their opportunities.

"They are not being handed to them on a plate but because they have earned them because they have worked so hard in pre-season.

"You talk about Tammy [Abraham] and Mason [Mount] and Fikayo [Tomori], it is a nice thing for him to see and something that he can be hungry for."

Jurgen Klopp believes Chelsea youngsters Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount can already be bracketed as £60million players.

Liverpool travel to face Frank Lampard's side on Sunday at Stamford Bridge, where there is an air of positivity despite some mixed results at the start of the season.

Confronted by a transfer ban, Lampard has given youth its head, with playmaker Mount pushing on to make his England debut and striker Abraham enjoying a prolific run of form.

Speaking ahead of the match, Klopp told reporters he recognises some of the attributes in a youthful Chelsea side that helped his Borussia Dortmund team claim back-to-back Bundesliga titles at the start of the decade.

"It's a really exciting team. It reminds me a bit of my team at Dortmund years back, when they were really young – even younger than this team now at Chelsea," he said.

"People talked about how young they were but they only played because they were that good, not because they were that young.

"They brought in Christian Pulisic in the summer for 50-or-60million and all the players around him have the same value.

"Tammy Abraham is now a 60million player, Mason Mount for sure 60million - if not more, [Callum] Hudson-Odoi was [worth] that already."

Abraham followed back-to-back braces against Norwich City and Sheffield United with a hat-trick in last weekend's 5-2 win at Wolves.

He is now aiming to become the second player in Premier League history after ex-Liverpool favourite Luis Suarez to score at least twice in four consecutive games.

Klopp feels the 21-year-old's loan spells at Swansea City and Aston Villa have paid dividends, with Mount's excellent form on the back of a year at Derby County also vindicating this aspect of Chelsea's approach.

"If there is one club in the world who a transfer ban didn't hit that bad, it was probably Chelsea because of the transfer policy they did in the last few years with all these high-quality players out there on loan," he said.

"Tammy Abraham scored 20-something goals last year. It's not that he learnt where the goal is at Chelsea, he found it in different places already.

"They are a proper contender for pretty much everything."

A 1-0 Champions League defeat to Valencia in midweek and an ankle injury scare for Mount checked Lampard's progress but Klopp – whose Premier League leaders were also beaten at Napoli on Tuesday – feels the ex-England midfield boasts clear coaching potential.

"He's done really well but it’s difficult to say. I don’t think it’s my job to talk about other managers, really," he added.

"What I can say is they play really exciting football. They played the last two games with a different system in a very busy period of the year, so that's interesting.

"He has an exciting football team – young, but really good.

"I said it before and probably people think I say it because I'm polite. It's not polite, it’s the truth – he did an outstanding job at Derby so I'm not surprised he's doing a good job at Chelsea as well."

Manchester United will not give up on extending Paul Pogba's stay at Old Trafford.

Pogba, 26, was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid during the close season, despite being contracted at United until 2021, with the club also reportedly holding the option for a further 12 months.

The LaLiga giants are reportedly still interested in the France midfielder, but United have plans of their own.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA CONTRACT A PRIORITY FOR MAN UNITED

Manchester United are looking to sign Pogba on a long-term deal, according to the Evening Standard.

New contracts for Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood are priorities for the Premier League giants, the report says.

It comes after United re-signed goalkeeper David de Gea and defender Victor Lindelof.

ROUND-UP

- Amid tension with fellow goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Manuel Neuer is considering his Germany future. Bild reports Neuer, 33, could end his international career after Euro 2020.

- Barcelona teenager Ansu Fati is set to get a Spanish passport next Friday, according to AS. Portugal have reportedly made advances for the talented 16-year-old forward, but Fati looks set to be ready to feature for Spain at the Under-17 World Cup beginning in October.

- Luca Pellegrini may be on loan at Cagliari, but his future appears to be at Juventus. The Serie A champions are keen to keep the 20-year-old defender for the long-term, according to Calciomercato.

- Chelsea have received some good news on the injury front. The Sun and the Mirror report midfielder Mason Mount could face Liverpool on Sunday despite suffering an ankle sprain in Tuesday's Champions League loss to Valencia.

- Bayer Leverkusen decided to reward midfielder Kai Havertz in the close season. According to Bild, the Bundesliga club handed the five-time Germany international a wage increase from €2m to more than €5m per season.

- Paul Mitchell has opted against returning to the Premier League. Sky Sports News reports Mitchell will leave his role as head of recruitment and development at RB Leipzig at the end of the month to become technical director of Red Bull's global soccer division. The report says as many as four Premier League clubs were after the former Tottenham and Southampton recruitment chief.

The 2019-20 Champions League gets under way with the usual suspects among the favourites for the title: Barcelona, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid and holders Liverpool.

Madrid face PSG in a blockbuster opening clash but the most interesting stories in the group stage could be bubbling under the surface, with Atalanta among the clubs making their competition debuts.

Stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Eden Hazard, Sergio Aguero and Mohamed Salah could dominate but the stage is set for many others to make their names among Europe's elite.

Omnisport picks out 10 players who may have a huge impact on this season's Champions League.


MATTHIJS DE LIGT - JUVENTUS

Juventus may have preferred to slowly integrate De Ligt into their defence after he joined from Ajax. But a long-term injury to captain Giorgio Chiellini means the Netherlands centre-back has been pressed into action already. De Ligt has made a stumbling start in Turin but his leadership helped Ajax reach the semi-finals last season, knocking Juve out along the way. If they are to recapture the Champions League title, De Ligt is set for a key role at the back.


JOAO FELIX - ATLETICO MADRID

Antoine Griezmann's move to Barcelona left Atletico with a huge hole to fill in their attack, with the Rojiblancos breaking their club record to sign Joao Felix from Benfica. There is no doubting the 19-year-old's extreme talent but whether or not he is ready to lead Atleti to Champions League glory after some perilously near misses in recent years remains to be seen.


JADON SANCHO - BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Another teenager, England star Sancho is already one of the most dangerous forwards in world football. The 19-year-old has already contributed two goals and four assists in the Bundesliga this term, while he opened his international account with a brace against Kosovo last week. Perhaps most impressive about Sancho is his decision-making in the final third where he is clinical, especially on the break. Dortmund are in a tough Group F with Barcelona, Inter and Slavia Prague.


RODRI - MANCHESTER CITY

European success continues to elude City but the capture of Rodri from Atletico could help them finally go to the next level in the Champions League. Control has been an issue for Pep Guardiola's men in the knockout rounds but Spain midfielder Rodri, seen as a successor to Sergio Busquets internationally, should enable them to dominate possession more than ever.


PHILIPPE COUTINHO - BAYERN MUNICH

Having struggled to justify his move to Barcelona, Brazil playmaker Coutinho has been given a fresh start with Bundesliga giants Bayern Munich. His arrival ought to help address the loss of James Rodriguez after his two-year loan from Real Madrid ended. Bayern are looking for a first European crown since 2012-13 with Coutinho needing to step up.


ERLING HAALAND - SALZBURG

One of Europe's most in-form strikers, Haaland hit eight league goals in six games for Austrian champions Salzburg before the international break. The Leeds-born 19-year-old, son of former Manchester City midfielder Alf-Inge Haaland, shot to fame when he scored nine goals in Norway's 12-0 win over Honduras at the Under-20 World Cup earlier this year.


LAUTARO MARTINEZ - INTER

Inter and Dortmund look likely to be scrapping for second spot in Group F, so Antonio Conte will want a big impact from Lautaro Martinez. The Argentina attacker should get more chances to impress after the departure of compatriot Mauro Icardi to PSG on loan and he showed he is in fine form by hitting a hat-trick in a friendly defeat of Mexico during the international break.


DANI OLMO - DINAMO ZAGREB

Having led Spain to glory at the European Under-21 Championship this year, Olmo was one of Europe's most in-demand players. Bayern Munich, Atletico Madrid, Manchester United and Tottenham were all linked with the 21-year-old, who was retained by Dinamo instead. He offers a genuine threat in the final third, having scored eight league goals last term, and Dinamo have a real chance of qualifying from Group C behind likely winners Manchester City.


ALEJANDRO GOMEZ - ATALANTA

In the same group, along with Shakhtar Donetsk, are Champions League newcomers Atalanta, who thrilled in Serie A last term. Finally getting a chance to shine in the Champions League, Gomez may not get another opportunity to adorn this competition. One of the most consistent performers in Italy's top flight, the 31-year-old could help Atalanta become the tournament's surprise package.


MASON MOUNT - CHELSEA

A transfer ban has forced Europa League winners Chelsea to reassess their squad with new England international Mason Mount among those making the most of their chance under Blues head coach Frank Lampard. Three Premier League goals have helped the 20-year-old, who played under Lampard at Championship side Derby County on loan last season, settle in quickly. The Champions League is his next test.

Tammy Abraham continued his fine form by scoring a hat-trick as Chelsea defeated Wolves 5-2 at Molineux on Saturday.

After doubles against Norwich City and Sheffield United, Abraham became the youngest Chelsea player to score a Premier League hat-trick in a brilliant display.

Fikayo Tomori got his first goal for the Blues with an ambitious 25-yard shot that wrong-footed Rui Patricio and swirled into top-left corner, with Abraham making it 3-0 before the break.

Abraham followed his treble with an own goal, while an effort from Patrick Cutrone gave Wolves the faintest of hopes before Mason Mount curled home a fine finish in the 96th minute to cap the win.

 

Chelsea's English youngsters are repaying the faith of head coach Frank Lampard, with all 10 of the club's Premier League goals so far this term scored by homegrown players aged 21 or under.

Lampard's appointment was expected to usher in a new youthful era at the club as they faced a transfer embargo and those young players are holding their own.

While results did not entirely go to plan before the international break, Chelsea were 4-0 up just after half-time at Wolves on Saturday.

And, as has been the case throughout the season to date, all of their goals were again scored by English players aged 21 or under.

Fikayo Tomori's stunning long-range effort made it 1-0 to the Blues, before Tammy Abraham stabbed home their second soon after.

Abraham doubled his tally with a fine header just before the break, making him only the third player in Premier League history after Cristiano Ronaldo and Dele Alli to score two or more goals in three consecutive appearances while aged under 21.

The in-form Abraham then completed his hat-trick early in the second half, skipping away from Conor Coady before rifling home, taking him ahead of Sergio Aguero as the league's top-scorer.

Chelsea's other Premier League scorer this term is Mason Mount, who struck against Leicester City and Norwich City.

Mount's form earned him his first England cap in the most recent international break and Abraham will surely not have to wait much longer for his senior bow if he continues to find the net with such regularity.

Abraham's hat-trick clincher moved Chelsea level with Leeds United as the only Premier League side to have 10 consecutive goals scored by English players aged 21 or younger. Leeds achieved the feat in 1999.

After losing Eden Hazard to Real Madrid and only managing to bring in Christian Pulisic, some predicted a troubling campaign for Chelsea.

But their academy products are providing the spark to keep a ray of positivity at Stamford Bridge in Lampard's first season at the helm.

Gareth Southgate is delighted with the progress of England's youngsters and adamant they are not serving as "wallpaper" within the squad.

Mason Mount became the latest young player to be handed an international debut by Southgate as the Chelsea midfielder came on in Saturday's 4-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Bulgaria.

He was later joined by 19-year-old Jadon Sancho, who made his debut last October, while West Ham youngster Declan Rice played the full game at the heart of midfield on his fourth cap.

But Southgate insists he is not blooding young talent for the sake of it and believes England's next generation are already offering serious competition to a first-team that had an average age of just over 25 on Saturday.

"I think the most important thing to say is we're not doing it for wallpaper, they're in because they deserve to be in," Southgate told a news conference after his side extended their perfect Group A record.

"Mason's performances already this season for his club, then in training this week and then when he went into the game – he's a threat to the starting team. 

"That is hugely encouraging for us, we know that with a lot of these lads their best years are probably three, four or five seasons away. 

"We've got to get the balance right, keep on winning matches and blood those players at the right times. 

"But English fans should be hugely excited when they see the likes of him and Sancho coming on and the impact they can have already, and we love working with them. 

"It's not just the mentality that’s good, they've got talent, they want to get better and it’s up to them how far they go."

Kyle Walker has been a regular starter under Southgate but the Manchester City full-back missed out on the latest squad, while Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Jesse Lingard pulled out.

Walker's fellow City defender John Stones is also absent and Southgate knows he will have a selection headache heading into Euro 2020 should England secure a spot in the tournament.

"In terms of the team for the Euros, it's difficult to say. A lot of our players still only have a handful of caps, some are improving rapidly," Southgate said.

"The great thing is we've got genuine competition for places. We've got four or five guys who you would expect to see on the team sheet but outside of that it's very difficult to call in a number of positions.

"Ahead of the World Cup, in the September-October period, [Kieran] Trippier had one cap, [Jordan] Pickford had one perhaps, [Harry] Maguire hadn't played. 

"So that was three who got to a World Cup semi-final, and they all had outstanding tournaments for us, so we've always got to have that open mind."

Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard laughed off a comparison between Mason Mount and James Maddison being called up by England and his own experiences with Steven Gerrard.

Uncapped attacking midfielder Mount has enjoyed a fine start to the campaign at Chelsea, having excelled on loan under Lampard at Derby County last term, and was rewarded with a place in the England squad to face Bulgaria and Kosovo in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Mount and Maddison, who is also yet to make his first senior international appearance, were named in the group for Nations League matches against Croatia and Spain in October 2018 but went unused.

Lampard does not believe the duo will have any problems playing in the same team, brushing aside a suggestion there could be a situation similar to when critics stated he and Liverpool star Gerrard were unable to feature in the same England XI.

"I can't believe you've gone Lampard and Gerrard. I thought we'd moved on!" Chelsea's head coach said to chuckles at a news conference ahead of the Blues' clash with Sheffield United on Saturday.

"There's been a lot of talk of my generation with England. Now, sitting on this side, we have intelligent players.

"We had Mason and Ross [Barkley] in the same team on the same side of the pitch last week. We played against Maddison a few weeks ago and I was hugely impressed, two intelligent footballers who can adapt to positions."

Lampard also has no concerns over Mount's selection coming too early.

"We're delighted for Mason. Great recognition, delighted he's got this chance again," Lampard said.

"I'm not concerned about it. I'm confident in his strength of character, desire and hunger. Those things won't affect him. Everyone has to keep their feet on the ground."

Mount's team-mate Tammy Abraham did not make the cut, but Lampard believes the striker, who had to withstand racial abuse on social media following his penalty shoot-out miss in the UEFA Super Cup loss to Liverpool, will earn his first cap since 2017 soon enough.

"It's a matter of time for Tammy, hopefully," Lampard said. "Really impressed [with his maturity].

"His character and how he dealt with the situation was brilliant in terms of the Twitter nonsense. He dealt with it first-hand and rose above it, which isn't easy."

Gareth Southgate hopes Mason Mount and James Maddison will inject midfield creativity into his England squad.

Mount, 20, and Maddison have impressed for Chelsea and Leicester City during the opening weeks of this season and account for half of the uncapped players selected for the Three Lions' Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bulgaria and Kosovo, along with Manchester United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Aston Villa centre-back Tyrone Mings.

Southgate helmed England's run to the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup and the Nations League Finals, an impressive feat undermined by his side lacking some cutting edge at the business end of the competitions.

Mount - who has scored two in three matches for Chelsea on the back of impressive loan spells at Vitesse and Derby County - and Maddison featured in England's squad last October and the manager is now ready to unleash them on the international stage.

"I think Mason Mount's been one of the outstanding players in the league already this season," Southgate told reporters.

"We brought both of those guys in last October as much for the experience as anything. This time in particular, in Mason's case, as the younger one, he's in on merit, simple as that.

"He looks like he's threatening the goal every game he plays. I've watched him develop through our youth teams since he was 16 and he's been an outstanding player at every age group.

"He's not in on the back of three games at Chelsea. He's in on the back of a year in the Eredivisie, which was outstanding [and] a very successful year with Derby."

On 22-year-old Maddison, Southgate said: "I think he is improving as a player. He's a talent for sure. I think we have to work out where that fits into the way that we play.

"His numbers are impressive: goals and assists, outstanding set-play delivery. So, it's an interesting one for us to work more closely with.

"I think we have various strengths to our squad and we have obvious areas where we would like more experienced, developed players. But we have some exciting players that can come in and give us different options."

Mings, who is four years Maddison's senior, provides a left-sided option at centre-back and has been forced to come through the adversity of serious injury setbacks during his career.

"Tyrone's an interesting case as he entered the game a bit later and hasn't played as much as a centre-back," Southgate said.

"He had a big injury at Bournemouth, but I really like his leadership qualities.

"He's an outstanding athlete and I see a lot of potential and time for growth given the number of games he's played."

England are top of Group A after two games, having hammered five goals past each of Czech Republic and Montenegro in March.

Aston Villa defender Tyrone Mings has been selected as one of four uncapped players in England's squad to face Bulgaria and Kosovo in Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Mings is included alongside Manchester United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka and creative midfielders Mason Mount and James Maddison, who have started the season impressively for Chelsea and Leicester City respectively.

Atletico Madrid's Kieran Trippier returns having been cut from Gareth Southgate's travelling party for the Nations League Finals, meaning Kyle Walker misses out on a spot in the 25-man squad alongside Manchester City team-mate John Stones – the latter having sat out his club's past two games with a hamstring injury.

Discussing Wan-Bissaka and Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold, Southgate told a news conference: "That's the reason for Kyle Walker not being with us - we've got two young players we want to look at before next summer.

"We also want Kieran Trippier to know he's still on our radar. He's a had a huge move to Atletico Madrid and started the season really well.

"It's an area of the pitch where we have some real strength. I've explained the rationale to Kyle. It's not that he's had a poor start to the season with Manchester City – quite the opposite."

Liverpool's Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain is back in the international fold following his knee injury ordeal, while Tottenham's Harry Winks further bolsters Southgate's midfield ranks.

Tom Heaton and Nick Pope are the goalkeepers named alongside number one Jordan Pickford – Jack Butland missing out after an error-strewn start to the campaign with Stoke City.

England are top of Group A following emphatic wins over Czech Republic and Montenegro in March.

 

England squad in full: Jordan Pickford (Everton), Tom Heaton (Aston Villa), Nick Pope (Burnley); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Aaron Wan-Bissaka (Manchester United), Kieran Trippier (Atletico Madrid), Joe Gomez (Liverpool), Harry Maguire (Manchester United), Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa), Michael Keane (Everton), Ben Chilwell (Leicester City), Danny Rose (Tottenham); Ross Barkley (Chelsea), Jordan Henderson (Liverpool), Jesse Lingard (Manchester United), James Maddison (Leicester City), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (Liverpool), Declan Rice (West Ham), Harry Winks (Tottenham); Harry Kane (Tottenham), Marcus Rashford (Manchester United), Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund), Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), Callum Wilson (Bournemouth).

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