Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has a big decision to make over the future of Olivier Giroud, according to Blues hero Joe Cole. Giroud is out of contract at Chelsea at the end of the season. But the Frenchman is keen to play more first-team football having not started a Premier League match this term.
Giroud is closing in on Thierry Henry’s all-time France goalscoring record.
But his international boss Didier Deschamps has suggested the 34-year-old may have to leave Chelsea to make sure of his place in the squad for next summer’s European Championship.
Giroud scored a vital late winner against Rennes on Wednesday to send Chelsea through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.
And Cole says Lampard has to weigh up whether to make a decision to benefit Giroud or benefit his team.
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“Do you know what, it’s a big test for Frank now,” Cole said on BT Sport.
“Olivier Giroud, it’s special for him to play for France clearly, he’s a World Cup winner, he knows he needs to play, his manager’s told him that.
“Frank knows what a great lad he is and he knows what a great servant he has been to the club and how much he produces when called upon.
“And it’s going to be one of those situations come January where you’re like: ‘Do you let him go for the lad? Or do you do what’s right for the club?’.
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“It’s a real tough decision Frank’s going to have to make because Giroud is such a good professional, but more importantly such a good affective player for the club.
“I’d love to see him stay because that won’t be the last time he bails Chelsea out.
“He’s brilliant off the bench and I think he’s one of the most underrated players we’ve seen over the last five years in the Premier League.”
Following the 2-1 win at Rennes, Lampard insisted Giroud would play more if he stayed at the club.
“Oli will get his minutes because we have a busy schedule, we play every few days,” Lampard said.
“And the things behind the scenes, everybody kind of feels from the outside what a great professional he is and how highly regarded he is by his team-mates and myself.
“So for him to get a goal, you saw the reaction of his team-mates, he’s so professional in how he trains and looks after himself that age isn’t even a factor for him.
“He’s getting better with age if anything in terms of how he looks after himself.
“So he offers a lot for us and I keep saying it but the big schedule coming up and the way we play means I will rely on players.”
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