Jude Bellingham and Declan Rice showed Frank Lampard why he was desperate to bring the pair to Chelsea.
The midfielders were two of England’s stand out players as Gareth Southgate’s men breezed past Iran in their World Cup opener.
Bellingham broke the deadlock in the rout with first first international goal, before Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling put England 3-0 up going into the break.
Saka fired in his second shortly after the hour mark, with Marcus Rashford and Jack Grealish also getting in on the act.
Bellingham and Rice were part of a midfield three alongside Blues ace Mason Mount, and if Lampard had it his way, the trio would have been starting together at Stamford Bridge.
Speaking to KEEPUP, Lampard explained that he failed in his quest to sign the pair during his 18 months at the helm of Chelsea.
Discussing Bellingham, 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.
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“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. 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.”
And Bellingham has started off the global competition in devastating fashion, where he has become England’s second youngest goalscorer at a World Cup.
His dominance in the middle of the pitch was highlighted by his match stats, where he had a 100 per cent dribble and tackle ratio, as well as boasting a 96.8 per cent pass accuracy.
Former England international Dean Ashton waxed lyrical over the teenager, as he told talkSPORT: “Jude Bellingham, that was an astonishing performance.
“For someone so young at this level of football.
“I was amazed at how good he was and there were so many positives to take from that.”
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