EPL

Frank Lampard reveals he wanted to sign Declan Rice when he was Chelsea boss

By Sports Desk July 13, 2023

Former Chelsea manager Frank Lampard has revealed he wanted to sign Declan Rice, believing the Arsenal-bound midfielder could have been the Blues’ long-term captain.

Former Chelsea academy player Rice, who has since gone on to establish himself as an England regular under Gareth Southgate, captained West Ham to Europa Conference League glory last month ahead of his expected move to north London.

Lampard, who managed Chelsea between 2019 and 2021 before returning for a stint as caretaker boss earlier this year, told the Diary of a CEO podcast: “I wanted to bring in Declan Rice.

“I was like ‘this kid is going to be the captain of Chelsea for the next 10 years’. It didn’t happen, anyway, it is hard to dissect people’s work.”

Lampard returned to the club as interim manager in April after Chelsea sacked Graham Potter but only managed one win in his 10 games in charge as the Blues finished 12th.

Chelsea’s record goalscorer referred to the troubles he experienced with the oversized squad he inherited after the £600million-plus investment from Todd Boehly’s Clearlake Capital consortium since 2022.

Lampard added: “The biggest thing about the low standards was the size of the squad. The motivation was tough with players outside the Champions League squad.

“When I came in, very quickly I noticed that some players were thinking about the season’s going to peter out and what the future’s going to look like and that was a difficult situation.

“When you have international players in a big number then of course you’re telling internationals to stay at home and it’s not easy, and to have the conversation with them every Friday and to get them lined up coming in is also not easy for your own energy.

“I think there’s an understanding at the club that (squad size) has to change now, I think it has to change and if you lack those basics then it’s really hard to get where you want to get to.”

Chelsea have since appointed Mauricio Pochettino as their new manager and have streamlined their bloated squad by selling eight first-team players ahead of their pre-season tour to the United States.

Lampard talked up Mason Mount, who is among those to have left Stamford Bridge this summer, signing for Manchester United earlier this month.

“I think it’s a great signing,” Lampard said.

“So in terms of what he’ll bring to Manchester United, it won’t just be what Mason brings, he will bring loads of talent, but he’s just going to go and (raise) the levels.”

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