Frank Lampard wanted players to discuss Brexit not tactics before Chelsea reign crumbled

Frank Lampard: Solskjaer has sympathy for ex-Chelsea boss

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The 43-year-old has been on screens throughout Euro 2020, and will be among the star pundits fronting the BBC’s coverage tonight’s match between England and Italy. The two sides meet at London’s Wembley Stadium, with the Three Lions hoping to end 55 years of hurt by collecting a first major honour since 1966. Lampard was among a group of English talent touted as the nation’s ‘golden generation’, an era of players many pundits and fans felt should have been good enough to claim an international title.

The ex-Chelsea star, who remains the south-west London club’s top goalscorer, played alongside Premier League legends such as John Terry, Gary Neville, Wayne Rooney, Paul Scholes, Steven Gerrard and Rio Ferdinand – who will be alongside Lampard on the BBC tonight.

Many of those stars have now taken steps into management following their retirement into the game, including Lampard – who took his first role as manager with Derby County.

Millions of viewers across the country will be waiting eagerly to hear Lampard’s assessment of England and Italy’s performances during the match, but some could hope his analysis is better than his football tactics.

Lampard left Derby to join Chelsea as manager in 2019, replacing the outgoing Italian Maurizio Sarri.

With the club under a transfer embargo, and having just sold their star player Eden Hazard to Real Madrid, observers felt the job of getting Chelsea into the Premier League’s top four – and a Champions League spot – would be too much for the rookie manager.

However, the team finished fourth, and also reached the FA Cup Final, and the club’s owner backed Lampard the following season with millions lavished on an array of footballing talent.

Just months later Lampard was sacked after a poor run of results and performances, paving the way for Thomas Tuchel to take over as boss.

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But while Lampard oversaw a decent run during his first campaign as Chelsea manager, the ex-West Ham and Manchester City midfielder discussed how he’d rather has his players discuss politics than tactics.

Speaking to Chelsea fan Omid Djalili for new book ‘A Game of Two Halves: Famous Football Fans Meet Their Heroes’ by Amy Raphael, Lampard said: “Actually I would encourage them to speak about it. If it wasn’t quite so toxic I’d call a meeting and say, ‘Right, instead of a meeting about football, lads, let’s talk about Brexit.’ Just to surprise them. I’d love that.

“I think that sort of stuff’s brilliant. It might be a dead room with everyone silent and you’d have to say, ‘Let’s go back to football.’

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“But I’m interested in politics.

“When I was playing, not too many of my teammates were interested. Most of them were into computer games.

“I imagine most footballers would still rather chat about computer games than Brexit.”

He also noted how Brexit had become a concern for bosses in the Premier League, as it could make it difficult for sides to import players from abroad.

Lampard added: “It could do. I think it might work differently at the top end, but possibly not for the smaller clubs.

“The influx of foreign players to the Premier League has done us a huge amount of good.

“I learned so much from [Didier] Drogba and [Gianfranco] Zola, so to think of the door being shut to players like that in the future is terrible.”

England vs Italy airs tonight from 6.30pm on both ITV and the BBC.

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