Former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole says Olivier Giroud is one of the most underrated players of recent times, admitting Frank Lampard has a difficult decision on his hands.
It came after he had cast fresh doubt on his future during the international break earlier this month. The striker knows he needs to be playing regularly at club level to make it to the Euros next summer.
With Timo Werner and Tammy Abraham ahead of him in the pecking order at present, that isn’t happening. However, Giroud has often come up with the goods when given an opportunity.
For example, after coming close to a departure last January, the striker went on a successful scoring run in the team towards the back end of last season. He finished the campaign with eight Premier League goals despite making just 12 starts.
This time, with his contract up at the end of the season, Giroud’s future will come under intense scrutiny again. He is close to becoming France’s all-time top scorer, but may lose his place for the national team unless Lampard can find a regular role for him.
Indeed, Lampard admitted after the game that he has a “problem” trying to get the Frenchman into the team. The Chelsea boss still vowed to give Giroud plenty of minutes, though.
Now, BT Sport pundit Cole has claimed that the situation is far from ideal for his former club.
He said: “It’s a big test for Frank now because Olivier Giroud, it’s special for him to play for France.
“He’s a World Cup winner and his manager’s told him he needs to play in January.
“Frank knows what a great lad he is and what a great servant he’s been to the club and how much he produces when he’s called upon.
“It’s going to be one of those situations come January when you’re like do you let him go, or do what’s right for the club.
“It’s a real tough decision Frank’s got to make because Giroud’s such a good professional and more importantly such a good effective player for the club.”
Cole wants Giroud to stay
If it was up to Cole, Giroud would stay at Chelsea, even though he is likely to remain a backup.
The former England international insists the 34-year-old scores too many important goals to be overlooked. Furthermore, he deserves more credit for what he has achieved in England.
Cole added: “I’d love to see him stay because that won’t be the last time he bails Chelsea out off the bench.
“He’s one of the most underrated players we’ve seen in the last five years in the Premier League.”