Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has revealed that he tried to sign both Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice during his stint in charge at Stamford Bridge after the pair starred as England romped to a 6-2 win over Iran in their World Cup opener.
Both players played 90 minutes in the centre of the park for Gareth Southgate’s side, with Bellingham continuing his meteoric rise to stardom as he scored the opening goal for the Three Lions on his World Cup debut.
Meanwhile, Rice patrol in front of the England defence, and turned in another top performance.
And, ahead of the game, Lampard revealed that during his 19 month spell with the Blues, he had attempted to land both players to improve Chelsea’s midfield, which now looks as though it will need a significant overhaul this summer.
Speaking on Bellingham particularly, Lampard told the media ‘He’s crucial for England - an outstanding talent”.
‘He’s more experienced and talented than his years show - to do what he’s done at the top level already.
‘I tried to sign him when I was at Chelsea actually – unfortunately it didn’t happen but I wanted to sign him and Declan Rice.’
‘There’s a lot of expectation so we’ll have to be a bit steady with him but the way he’s played and performed, he has a real maturity about him”, the now Everton boss added.
‘Not much will faze him so I expect him to go and have a good tournament. It’s a talented squad and we should appreciate and congratulate Gareth on what he’s done in the job.
England will have another chance to impress in the Group stages when they take on the USA on Friday night, with that game expected to be significantly more tricky than their clash with Iran.