Why Lewis Baker Will Become Chelsea's Next Frank Lampard

Rowanne WesthenryFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2014

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Chelsea began pre-season last week with a very different-looking squad. While the likes of Eden Hazard and Oscar will return in a few weeks, Frank Lampard will not be joining them.

Lampard's 211 goals and 13 trophies spanning 13 years have ensured that he will never be forgotten at Chelsea. However, having played such a key role in a decade of consistent success, Jose Mourinho will need to find a replacement for Super Frank ASAP.

Cesc Fabregas will fulfil the box-to-box role that Lampard played for a few years, but his history as Arsenal captain means that he will not join the England midfielder among the legends of Stamford Bridge. Despite that, Chelsea don't need to look outside of the club to find the next Lampard.

Lewis Baker has been at Chelsea since the age of nine, and he has won plenty of silverware through his time at the academy. His strike against Arsenal in the Under-21 Premier League last season was voted as the club's goal of the season, and he has been the first-choice penalty taker since 2011.

Mourinho recognised his potential enough to hand him his senior debut in the FA Cup against Derby County. If he keeps up the form he has shown so far in pre-season, Baker could even find his way into the first-team squad for 2014-15 at the tender age of 19 years old.

He was involved in all three Chelsea goals against AFC Wimbledon last week and is one of the few youngsters who could seriously compete for a place on the pre-season tour of Europe.

Although he has played in a more advanced role in the youth setup, Baker has the talent to play as an all-round central midfielder. He is a rare talent in that he is genuinely proficient with both feet, and he was apparently able to complete 600 keepie-uppies in one go when he first signed for the Blues, per Laurie Whitwell at the Daily Mail.

Like Lampard, he can read the game better than most and has an impeccable range of pin-point passing. He also shares leadership qualities with Lampard and has been captain of the under-21s since 2012.

BURTON UPON TRENT, ENGLAND - MAY 29:  Lewis baker of England U19  during the Uefa U19 Championship Elite Round match between England U19 and Ukraine U19 at Pirelli Stadium on May 29, 2014 in Burton upon Trent, England.  (Photo by Tony Marshall/Getty Image
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As well as taking on the responsibility of both leading the team and taking the penalties, Baker has emulated Lampard in translating his club form onto the international stage, having recorded eight goals in 12 appearances for England under-19s, per the FA website.

The fact that Mourinho preferred to keep him at the club rather than send him on loan last season bodes well for his future, although he will face stiff competition if he is going to make it in the first team in the short term.

His contract runs until 2016, and a loan spell may help to clarify his long-term prospects at Chelsea. However, if he continues on his current trajectory, there is no reason why Lewis Baker will not become the next Frank Lampard.

All information on Baker's Chelsea career so far taken from his profile on the official website unless otherwise noted.