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Frank Lampard warns under-fire Kepa his Chelsea future is under threat amid Pope transfer links

FRANK LAMPARD has given his strongest warning yet to struggling Chelsea keeper Kepa that he faces the chop.

The world’s most expensive goalkeeper, 25, dropped a clanger at Newcastle and faced criticism for Arsenal’s late equaliser on Tuesday.

Chelsea boss Lampard said: "He will have to deal with that. That is what football is, every player no matter great you are in your career, the best, the absolute best of all time will get criticised.

"I am not affected by criticism from the outside as much. I am aware of it, not affected by it.

"It is what I want for the team and I think with Kepa he knows, he’ll be honest that there have been some mistakes that have cost us goals. It is the nature of it, so that needs to improve.

"Goalkeepers maybe have slightly more spotlight on them, but it is a similar thing. The important thing is not to get too embroiled in what is said on the outside and look at your own game.

"It is always the basics, such as how hard can I work? This is not just Kepa, any player. If you feel in a lack of form, fight to get it back. Go back to basics."

Chelsea’s £71 million Spaniard is being taken out of the firing line for their FA Cup fourth round tie at Hull with Willy Caballero taking his place.

And Lampard says if his No2 performs well he has a chance to stay there.

The Blues have been linked with a move for Burnley’s Nick Pope, 27, as a replacement.

Lampard said: "All the players that play tomorrow do. All the ones who don’t start regularly.

"Those are the rules.

"The goalkeeper I suppose is a specific position, where it’s quite well known there’s a No1 and a No2.

"But my choice is to make that choice after the game considering the next match."

Second-choice striker Michy Batshuayi will also start at Championship City with Tammy Abraham facing uncertainty over a freak ankle injury.

The 15-goal striker clattered into advertising hoardings during Tuesday’s draw with Arsenal and could be out for some weeks.

Lampard said: "The good news is he hasn't fractured anything, we were worried about a hairline fracture.

"The other news is we still have to see how he develops. It's not a clear-cut one.

"He's not fit for the weekend, but whether he'll be fit for Leicester after that I'm still not sure."

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