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Frank Lampard has revealed that he tried to sign Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice during his spell in charge at Chelsea. The duo put on a midfield masterclass on Monday afternoon as they played their part as England waltzed past Iran 6-2 in their World Cup opener.
Alongside Blues star Mason Mount in a midfield trident, Bellingham and Rice impressed for Gareth Southgate’s side as the former put the Three Lions ahead with a great header. The trio’s performance on the world stage gave Chelsea fans a glimpse of what could have been in west London had Lampard been granted his wish.
Speaking to KEEPUP, the former Blues boss explained that he failed in his mission to sign Bellingham and Rice during his 18 months in the dugout at Stamford Bridge. He said: “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, unfortunately that didn’t happen, I tried to sign him and Declan Rice.
“That will be England’s midfield for this tournament,” Lampard added. “It’s a lot of expectation so we have to be a bit steady with him.
“But the way he’s played, the way he’s performed he has a real sort of mature sense about him as well. So I’m sure not too much will phase him and I expect him to go and have a good tournament.”
Bellingham has been subject to long-term interest from Chelsea, football.london understands. The west Londoners watched the Borussia Dortmund star during his time as an academy player at Birmingham City but, after failing to act on their interest, the German giants swooped in and signed the wonderkid instead.
With Todd Boehly in the market for a new midfielder amid the uncertain futures of N’Golo Kante and Jorginho, Chelsea are one of several European giants keen to acquire Bellingham’s services, according to The Athletic. And, according to Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke, the teenage sensation can leave in the summer if he wishes.
With regard to Rice, who was released from Cobham at the age of 14, spearheaded the Blues’ shortlist last year alongside Aurelien Tchouameni, according to The Athletic. The report states that a move for the West Ham midfielder collapsed because the Hammers’ £100million valuation was considered too ‘steep’.
In February, football.london understood that as far as David Moyes’ side are concerned, nothing has changed and Rice was not for sale at any price. It was believed that …