Lampard says 22-year-old Chelsea reportedly want is 'one of the best' in Europe

Frank Lampard believes that his former Chelsea target, Declan Rice, is among the finest defensive midfielders in world football.

Speaking to the BBC Football Daily podcast, Lampard lauded the 22-year-old for his standing within the game’s very best.

Rice has grown in status and stature in a very short space of time, meaning his stock is sky high.

He helped the Hammers to Europa League qualification last term, missing just six Premier League games in the process.

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Chelsea keeping track

His next mission is aiding England to European Championship glory.

Gareth Southgate started the midfielder – who is largely regarded as one of his undroppable figures – in all three group games.

Chelsea have not turned a blind eye to his performances, as they continue to track Rice in the transfer market.

Thomas Tuchel is said to be a fan, which means he shares the same view as Lampard, who didn’t hide the fact he wanted the West Ham man at Stamford Bridge.

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Lampard loves Rice

The ex-Blues manager delivered his updated verdict on England’s London born star.

“In my opinion, Declan Rice going into the tournament is one of the best defensive midfielders in the tournament and in Europe, for the performances he put in for West Ham and his country so far,” said Lampard.

“Albeit we still have to remember he is still a pretty young lad.

“Declan Rice has been outstanding all year.”

Photo by Shaun Botterill – UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images

CDM debate

Look across the CDM landscape, and Rice is certainly in good company.

Closer to home, the Premier League has a host of top disrupters, including Chelsea’s N’Golo Kante, Fabinho of Liverpool, Rodri from Manchester City, and Leicester City’s Wilfrid N’Didi.

Further afield, La Liga ace’s Casemiro and Sergio Busquets have top pedigree, as does Joshua Kimmich with Bayern Munich.

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But none are as young or up-and-coming as Rice, whose future looks incredibly bright.

And his career might already be about to come full circle.

Eurosport says he is considering leaving West Ham, amid interest from Chelsea and other clubs.

Keep up to date with all the latest Chelsea news and opinion by following The Chelsea Chronicle’s Twitter account here.

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Nathaniel is a football journalist who graduated from the University of Derby. He has worked at Burton Albion as part of their media team for two years. Nathaniel produces regular articles for the club’s official website and match-day programme. He covered the 2018 U20 Women’s World Cup in Brittany and has reported from grounds ranging from non-league up to the Premier League.