Zola Tips England Starlet to Replace Lampard at Chelsea

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By Nick Howson | February 22, 2013 10:53 PM EST

Watford manager Gianfranco Zola is tipping on loan midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah to eventually replace Frank Lampard at Chelsea.

Chalobah is currently in the midst of a second successive six-month loan spell at Vicarage Road, helping The Hornets go within three points of the automatic promotion places.

The England Under-21 midfielder's contribution in the middle of midfield has been intrinsic to the success of Watford's eclectic squad, and Zola, a former legend at Stamford Bridge, believes upon the 18 year old's return to west London Chalobah possesses the capacity to replace the outgoing Frank Lampard.

"Nathaniel could be the player that replaces Frank so therefore I try to give him everything I can to become a better player," Zola said.

"Frank is more like an offensive midfielder; he gets on the ball and scores important goals.

"Nathaniel can be very offensive obviously, but has the structure more of a holding midfielder who organises the play from the back.

"He can certainly play in the position that Frank plays but his best position is in front of the defence."

Lampard looks set to leave Chelsea at the end of the season having yet to agree a new contract with the club.

Chelsea's reluctance to offer players in their 30s long-term extensions means Lampard is unlikely to be handed anything more than a one-year deal, which unlike full-back Ashley Cole, the 34 year old is expected to reject.

Didier Drogba was allowed to leave Chelsea last summer despite scoring the winning penalty in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich, after failing to agree a contract extension; an example of the club's ruthless stance.

"I can try to understand, I don't think it's down to the value that the player has got that's for sure," Zola added.

"I believe it's more like that because Chelsea's doesn't want to renew that they want to change and do something different, that's the only explanation that I can give to myself.

"It's a pity players like Frank and John Terry you like to keep them young forever and play at Chelsea forever. It will be difficult obviously but at the end of the day it might be a good thing for Frank to change it he wants to change."

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