Former Chelsea star Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink feels manager Frank Lampard should be selfish and not allow Olivier Giroud to leave in January.
Giroud, 34, has been tipped to push for a new year exit after spending too much time on the bench. The France international has started just one Premier League match, with 126 minutes of playing time to his name.
He has seen more game time in Europe, with one start among three outings in the Champions League. The former Arsenal striker bagged four goals against Sevilla last week, prompting Lampard to start him against Leeds.
He obliged once more on Saturday, notching the first goal of a 3-1 win for the west Londoners.
There have been calls for the Chelsea chief to use the veteran more regularly in the league. But, the weekend aside, he seems happy to keep his powder dry and deploy the Frenchman from the bench.
Giroud is hoping to be part of the France squad for nest summer’s rescheduled Euro 2020. He will need to be playing regularly to catch the eye of Les Bleus’ manager Didier Deschamps.
And, with that in mind, the rangy forward might look to move on. Hasselbaink thinks that would be a disaster for the Stamford Bridge outfit and wants Lampard to dig his heels in.
“I don’t think they can afford to let Giroud go,” he told Premier League Productions. “Even if he’s not number one. Coming off the bench and making something different.
“I know that he is going to want to leave but I think Frank has to be very selfish there and say no.”
Ball in Lampard’s court
Lampard will doubtless do what is right for Chelsea but he also knows what it means to play international football. The 42-year-old made 106 England appearances and wore the Three Lions with pride throughout his career.
Giroud is also passionate about playing for his nation and will not want to miss out on next year’s event. Hasselbaink believes the manager will need to find a way of keeping Giroud and his team-mates happy.
“I don’t know but maybe Frank has to be a little bit creative to just keep him because I think he’s important for the team,” he added. “His team-mates love him. They love him. So to keep that together is also important.
“In the beginning he hardly played but then Chelsea became a little bit in trouble with the forward players. He started playing and he saved them, I think, to get that fourth place because he was crucial.”